FOX 13 News has learned the Unified School District plans to announce in a few weeks the Shelby County Sheriff's Office will put deputies in schools formerly run by the City of Memphis. Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham has kept quiet about the new assignment until the formal paper work is signed. Behind the scenes, deputies have been preparing for months for their new role. They have attended meetings with Memphis PD to learn about the schools and the students involved. One school that will test the Shelby County Sheriff's readiness for its new role in the Unified School District is Booker T. Washington. The high school that once had President Barak Obama as its commencement speaker in 2011 will take students from its rival Carver High School which closed. BTW student Deangelo Taylor said there could be problem when the student cultures clash. "A little grudge, every time they come to the school there always be a little problem," said Taylor, "children get to fighting."
Betty Neal was picking up her granddaughter outside Booker T. Washington and worries the county deputies may not have time to tell the difference between the good students and the bad. "Time is an issue as far as I am concerned, because this is a new thing and with new things you have to get to know." said Ms. Neal who is a retired school teacher.
The President of the Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Association says parents underestimate what his members can do. "We do deserve the benefit of the doubt," said Dan Chapman. He showed us several documents including one which detailed a week long training session deputies went through with MPD to share intelligence, anti-gang programs and other methods to curb youth violence. This session happened in March but Sheriff Oldham through a spokesman said the training actually started as early as last November. Chapman told FOX 13, "If we are going to be tasked by the community to perform that role, we are going to be prepared."
Betty Neal appreciates how serious the sheriff's office is taking its new role, and withhold judgment for a while. ""I will observe the first year and see what happens," said Mrs. Neal, " after the first year then I can make a concrete statement."