Dozens Attend School Safety Hearing in Pittsylvania Co.

Pittsylvania Co., VA - Pittsylvania County Supervisors held a budget hearing in Chatham, and the part of the agenda most folks were interested in was the Sheriff's School Safety Initiative.

The board opened the floor for input before they decide whether to support the initiative.

The Sheriff's seven part plan was met with mixed reviews.

For each person who wanted to increase security measures in Pittsylvania County schools, there was another who opposed the higher taxes.

"We have to have the backing of the people, and if they're not willing to fund it, then we can't really initiate that program, " said board Chairman Marshall Ecker.

Dozens of Pittsylvania County residents came out to voice their opinion on the proposed plan to bring metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and armed deputies - as well as other security measures - into each county school.

"I hope the people here will speak their minds and give the board some indication of which direction they want them to go, " said Sheriff Mike Taylor.

Taylor was one of many who took the floor to be heard.

The support from the community was strong, but many were concerned over the funding for the initiative -- which will cost more than $1 million.

Officials say it may be possible to fund the project with a minimal tax increase per resident, per year.

"Five cents will fund the whole project and that will generate $1.7 million, " Ecker said.

The board will hold a special meeting tomorrow night to consider all that they heard, and they will take a consensus on the feasibility of funding the project.

As he waits, for their decision, Taylor remains hopeful that his initiative will become a reality.

"It's one of our priorities in our office and I believe we will come to a reasonable solution, " Taylor said.

The Sheriff created a group within his department dedicated to raising funds to offset the cost of the initiative, and they've already raised a few thousand dollars.

Now it's up to the board to decide if they will get to continue that mission in Pittsylvania County.