MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey announced a program Wednesday that will train administrators in school security.
The voluntary Alabama Sentry Program will allow administrators in schools without a school resource officer to have a firearm on campus in a safe in order to respond to an active shooter.
Administrators who participate in the program must complete training and have approval from the local superintendent, school board and county sheriff to participate.
School sentries will be required to keep their firearms in a secured weapon storage system. School sentries, or their board of education, will be responsible for getting an approved weapon, ammunition and a specially-designed bullet-proof vest.
"The Governor's SAFE Council recommended adding more School Resource Officers throughout our state, a solution that I support, and will work with the legislature to implement. However, until we have a concrete plan to increase the number of SROs, we must provide a way for schools to protect their students in the upcoming school year. I have created the Alabama Sentry Program to provide additional security measures for our children, and to utilize the current summer break to train those who volunteer to be a sentry," Governor Ivey said. "The Alabama Sentry plan is a reasonable and measured approach to provide an additional tool for schools without a resource officer. With the unfortunate continued occurrence of school violence across our country, we cannot afford to wait until the next legislative session."
Alabama Secretary of Law Enforcement Hal Taylor and Alabama Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey joined Ivey for the announcement.
"I believe this is a common-sense approach to increasing security in our schools. The SAFE Council worked hard with officials from around the state to create a list of recommendations. I applaud Governor Ivey and members of the SAFE Council for creating this program," Taylor said. "School security is one of the highest priorities for law enforcement and this program will help first responders identify and stop threats quicker and before they happen."
"Schools are sanctuaries of learning and, as such, they must be safe places for our children to learn, knowing that the adults around them are watching out for their safety and security. With recent events around our country, now is the time to act," Mackey said. "The Alabama Sentry Program is one way for us to put more safety resources in schools without having to seek new funding. This is truly a step in the right direction. I look forward to working with Secretary Taylor and the entire SAFE Council to implement this program."