FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) – Increased numbers of threats about violence at schools means law enforcement agencies are stepping up their presence in schools.
Sheriff Mike Fridley said Fayette County staffs full-time Student Resource officers at three schools in the county, but that puts a strain on the sheriff’s department’s already stretched resources.
Fridley understands the need for deputies in schools, but if it weren’t for a bond the department receives from the Board of Education, they might not be able to fund full-time law enforcement in schools.
“It was through the board of education to be able to put these officers in the schools,” said Fridley. “If it wasn’t for that, would I be able to do it? It would just take away from what we do every day.”
The strain put on departments by the need to put full-time staff in schools is also compounded by the nationwide law enforcement officer shortage, which is leaving many departments shorthanded, and causing long hours for Fayette County’s deputies.
“We’ve got a plan in this county, like a majority of departments do,” explained Fridley. “But it takes a lot of resources too to cover, when you have a large county as we do, you know. I had to pay some deputies overtime to stay out late and some to come out early, to not only go to each school, but to cover our regular calls.”
Despite the strain it puts on the department’s resources, Fridley said it’s worth it to be as prepared as possible on days like today, when Fayette County and other local school districts were on high alert because of a threatening TikTok video that gained national attention.
“This threat that’s went around the nation about the Tik Tok, in today’s world you have to take every threat serious,” Sheriff Fridley told 59. “Even though, working with our local agencies at the city state and federal level, there’s been no immediate threats here in West Virginia. But still, as I said earlier, you’ve got to take this seriously at all times. And we do. All law enforcement does.”
Sheriff Fridley said in a statement that the threats did not come from any local students, and he hopes that increased law enforcement presence at schools on Friday sent the message that threats of violence at schools will always be taken seriously.