BY KARISSA MILLER
The Iredell County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday signed off on Sheriff Darren Campbell’s plan to create a new detective position to focus on investigating threats against Iredell-Statesville Schools’ staff, students and facilities.
The need for the new position is driven by what is happening in I-SS schools.
“Just this week we had four threats,” Campbell told commissioners.
Instances of communicating threats in schools has increased 98 percent and the total number of reports handled by ICSO school resource officers is up 120 percent, the sheriff said.
“A lot of it comes through social media. It gets out on Snapchat, Instagram or whatever platform you want to choose then it spreads like wildfire,” Campbell explained. “These threat assessment (positions) have to be specially trained.”
Campbell said he decided to pursue the position after I-SS Superintendent Jeff James contacted him about student safety concerns. A Statesville High School student was seriously injured earlier this month when he was assaulted by five other teens.
The sheriff hopes to have the position filled by December 1. The threat assessment detective will work to detect and prevent potential acts of targeted violence as early as possible.
According to Campbell, I-SS has agreed to cover the salary and benefit expenses associated with this position during the current fiscal year. The Sheriff’s Office will cover the cost of vehicle expenses and supplies.
Commissioner Scottie Brown voiced his support for the sheriff’s plan.
“We’ve got to stay ahead of it, and I think you’re doing a great job,” Brown told the sheriff.
In related but a separate action, the board approved funding for a full-time deputy position at Mitchell Community College’s Statesville campus.
The new deputy position, which will also begin December 1, will provide law enforcement services similar to that as a school resource officer.
Mitchell officials have agreed to cover all startup costs for the current fiscal year, including the salary and vehicle.
In other matters, the board approved these additional Sheriff’s Office requests:
• A request to accept a budget amendment in the amount of $25,728 FY 2022 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG) funds on behalf of the City of Statesville and Statesville Police Department.
• A request to apply for the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Grant for the purchase of an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle). If awarded, the grant does not have a match.