Sheriff Jim Hammond was the guest speaker at the annual combined meeting of the Chattanooga Hamilton Place Rotary Club and the Brainerd Kiwanis Club. Hammond spoke about several challenges facing his department, including the need for a new jail and an outdoor range. During his talk, he said housing an inmate is not cheap. “Imagine what could be done if we could apply those dollars to our schools,” he said.
Hammond also discussed the advantages of the school resource officers (SROs), whose responsibilities include counseling students. Hammond said Tennessee is the only state to receive grant money to increase the number of SROs in its middle schools. “Gangs start recruiting kids in the sixth grade, so there’s a definite need for the SROs in the middle schools,” Hammond said.
Hammond also discussed a new program he’s proposed to recruit 18-year-olds for training in law enforcement. “That’s a critical age. Kids often flounder after high school,” he said.