MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Former Mobile County Sheriff Jack Tillman said armed resource officers should be in schools.
The longtime sheriff spent many years as a school resource officer.
Tillman doesn't mince words when it comes to arming school resource officers.
He said, "The most dangerous thing that ever occurred was the state superintendent taking [school resource officers'] guns! How stupid is that?!"
Tillman spent many years as a resource officer in the 80s and 90s.
Right now, Mobile County has 12 school resource officers. These officers were armed until 2006 when state education officials banned the weapons.
A decision Tillman did not agree with.
"They need everybody's support, but they need their guns!" said Tillman.
He said there were at least three occasions where his life was threatened at school.
He recalled one instance when he wrestled a gun out of a student's hand.
"[The student] looked back at all the rest of us. He said, 'If I had gotten away, I would've shot all three of ya," said Tillman.
Tillman said school resource officers handle a lot of problems that the public really doesn't hear about.
"I couldn't believe some of the things I'd seen. I had a girl got raped on campus," said Tillman.
But some local officials don't want the guns like school board member Dr. Reginald Crenshaw. He spoke about the matter in December.
Crenshaw said, "I think if you have armed resource officers there you can get in to a confrontation they could possibly return fire or they could take the weapon themselves and use it against other folks there, so I do not think that having armed resource officers is the answer."
"Whatcha gonna do, use a taser?" asked Tillman. "Guy standing from you 50 yards with a gun, you gonna taser him? Stupid! Just stupid!"
Crenshaw feels metal detectors would be more effective but Tillman says they're too expensive. There's no clear solution to this dispute, and it's an argument with a lot at stake- the safety of our children.
Crenshaw said currently there aren't any plans for the School Board to address this issue.
He said the debate may come up if the state legislature decides to act.
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