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Take sheriff’s advice to protect children

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By BEN CARLSON

Column as I see ’em …
There are two reasons Troy Young will be the sheriff of Anderson County for as long as he chooses to continue serving: temperament and common sense.
Sheriffs across the United States, including one in Kentucky, have made national headlines over the past several weeks as the country and its politicians wrestle over proposed gun control legislation.
From those sheriffs Americans have heard plenty of 2nd Amendment bravado about how they would refuse to enforce any gun laws they considered breaches of the Constitution.
As a staunch advocate for the legal use of firearms of any make or model, I appreciate their hard-line stances and thank them for being vigilant protectors of our birthright as Americans.
I also appreciate the fact that not everyone shares my views on guns, and understand that vitriol and grandstanding will not further the cause of advocating on behalf of the 2nd Amendment.
In his comments on the president’s executive orders and proposed legislation on banning military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines (see A1), Young offers a level-headed and smart approach that is centered equally on protecting individual liberties and folks here from some whack-a-do getting his or her hands on a gun.
In short, his comments are a testament to his temperament and give both sides of the issue a chance to catch their breath.
Now for his common sense.
I’ve interviewed Young dozens of times and he is always very straightforward, honest and open in his responses.
But the interview I conducted for the article on A1 was a little different. While carrying forward each of those traits, Young was clearly more animated and passionate about this topic that any I’ve discussed with him before. Unlike the usual of crime investigation and procedural interviews, the very real possibility that a tragedy like the one that occurred in Connecticut could happen here is undoubtedly something that keeps him awake at night.
During his 28 years as a police officer, Young has spent 25 in a DARE program that likely wouldn’t exist without his efforts, and more than anything you can tell that the sheriff cares, and I mean truly cares, about the safety and welfare of your children and mine.
During our discussion Young made it clear that each of the county’s six public school buildings should have its own police officer rather than having just two rotate between buildings.
Why Anderson County doesn’t already have those officers in place makes no sense.
Having a cop in every school building doesn’t guarantee the unthinkable won’t happen, but it’s certainly better than leaving entire school buildings vulnerable to someone with bad intent who can pick a time when no police car is parked in front to do their evil bidding.
This isn’t a question of should we; it’s a question of why don’t we and there isn’t be a better time than now to have that discussion.
It’s a given that four additional officers — perhaps two each from the city police department and sheriff’s office — will require money. With bennies and salaries we’re looking at roughly $150,000 a year, a cheap alternative to the possibility of seeing kids being removed from a school building in body bags.
Divided among the city, county and school board, that’s $50,000 per year, and each clearly has enough wiggle room in its budget to cover that cost without raising property taxes.
Of course that would mean the school district might have to curb the tens of thousands of dollars it spends each year on travel and perks. The city, which funds worthwhile but clearly not as important movies and concerts on the Green, can certainly come up with its share.
And, were it not for the specter of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the coming years on a recycling program that is already spinning out of control, the fiscal court could kick in its share, too.
The bottom line is simple: We should take the advice of this county’s chief law enforcement officer when it comes to protecting our children, even if paying for that advice isn’t easy.
It’s only common sense.