Buchanan County voters to decide on adding officers to schools

BUCHANAN COUNTY, Mo. - Buchanan County is taking school security to the voters in April, letting them decide whether to put more deputies in rural schools.

A proposed 1.1 percent sales tax could fund up to four deputies, which Buchanan County Presiding Commissioner R.T. Turner said would work like a sales tax on some out-of-state purchases.

Turner said the deputies could cost $435,000 the first year and $250,000 every year after that. He said the goal is to have them in four rural schools.

Angela Thomson, a mother of three, believe it's a small price to pay.

"I think it's peace of mind because it's actually a deterrent," Thomson said.

Her children attend the Mid-Buchanan School District, where Buchanan County Deputy Sarah Hardin has been patrolling the halls for about five years.

It's Hardin's job to protect the students and help them react to emergencies. Hardin said she's built a rapport with them.

That rapport is built on a mutual trust. In one case, a student warned Hardin about another student's plan to bring pipe bombs to school.

Hardin said in the event of an emergency, her presence is paramount.

"It's such a need for an officer to be able to be there and be on top of it immediately," she explained.

Buchanan County voters will decide on the tax April 2. Presiding Commissioner Turner said it would expire after ten years and during that time, property tax rates would not be allowed to increase in Buchanan County.

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