Weakley Public Safety Committee Reports on Bulletproofing Benches

Sgt. Brian Cooper was part of a demonstration on impaired driving last spring at Greenfield School. He is shown here with Dakota McDonald and Meka Thomas. Cooper is now the new SRO at the school. 

Weakley County officials focused on safety in committee meetings Monday, starting with the courtrooms.

Many people were confused by references in the public safety committee’s agenda to “bulletproofing courthouse benches,” but the reference was to the judges’ benches in the courtrooms. The bench is where judges, clerks and witnesses sit during court proceedings.

According to County Mayor Jake Bynum, making these areas safer is “somewhat of a requirement” from the state, and the majority of the cost will be paid by the state; the county’s portion will be 10 percent.

The work has already been done, Bynum said, and the county will then submit its bill to the state.

Bulletproof material was added to the judges’ benches in the large and small courtroom on the second floor, the courtroom on the third floor and the juvenile courtroom. Similar protections have been added to the counters in the circuit court clerk’s office and that of the clerk and master.

Panic buttons have been installed in other offices not specified by Bynum.

The committee approved the expenditures, then went on to discuss ambulance service performance.

Newly elected Commissioner David Bell wanted to know if anyone was keeping track of how many ambulances were available since Weakley County Ambulance Service had been awarded the contract.

Bynum pointed out that the contract had only been in force a few days, but he also pointed out that the E-911 operations center would have to keep the records, and E-911 doesn’t report to the county but to its own board.

There was some discussion of the weakness that WCAS will be self-reporting what vehicles are actually operational at any given time, but it was agreed that the reporting should be trusted.

In other business, Sheriff Mike Wilson reported that Brian Cooper, the new school resource officer for Greenfield, served his first day Monday. He said Sharon or Gleason School would be the next to get their SRO as officers finished training.

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