Silver Creek Elementary student hugs School Resource Officer Tim Tillett

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Jefferson County Board of Education members is expected to discuss school resource officers at its meeting Tuesday night, a big topic of conversation after the district pulled SROs from schools in 2019.

And the discussion comes as other local school districts are adding SROs. Clark County Sheriff's Office oversees six SROs. Tim Tillett, who started this fall at Silver Creek Elementary School, is one of the most recent additions. He walks the halls chatting with kids, checks to make sure doors are locked and his gun is holstered, prepared if he ever needs to stop a school shooter.

"It's something that you know is always in the back of your mind, because it's one of the big reasons we're here, and you realize it could happen," Tillett said. "But it's something, you know, you don't dwell on. You know you're here for the kids to protect them."

Tillett spent 34 years with Indiana State Police and retired in 2019. In March 2020, he put in word with the Clark County Sheriff's Office that he'd be interested in an SRO if a position came available.

Silver Creek Elementary Principal Sandy Myers said she was the main force behind securing an SRO.

"For the parents, it's peace of mind. ... knowing that someone is there that's going to protect our kids at all times," Myers said.

Although Clark County and Jefferson County are literally bridged together, every school district has different needs. Tyra Walker, a Jefferson County Public Schools mother, and education and an activist, disagrees that SROs create peace of mind.

"There's that trust issue with police officers and especially with the Breonna Taylor movement," she said. "It brought to light certain things that maybe, you know, that our kids in the community did not realize until they saw George Floyd, until they saw Breonna Taylor."

Walker was among those who pushed for JCPS to get rid of SROs in 2019 and hopes they stay out of schools, at least until trust in police officers is strengthened.

"It's still not time, because we haven't bridged those gaps yet," she said.

Walker said there can be a lot of PTSD involved when a student sees a gun even if it's not being used.

Tillett said he can see his presence making a difference.

"I feel like you can catch them at an early age and you can teach them things and let them know you're for them, not against them," he said.

Bullitt County Schools has nine SROs, permanent positions at each high school and rotating schedules at the middle and elementary schools.

In 2018, Oldham County Schools added seven more SROs for a total of 10 officers.

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