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Blevins, Spring Hill teachers, staff get free concealed carry training

By submitted, 07/24/18 8:51 AM

Hempstead County Sheriff's Department

SPRING HILL – Spring Hill School teachers and staff receive free Concealed Handgun Training courtesy of the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office.

In March of this year Sheriff James Singleton invited teachers and staff of the Blevins and Spring Hill School Districts to attend at no cost a Concealed Carry Course.  Approximately 25 Teachers and staff of the Spring Hill School District took advantage of the Sheriff’s offer.

On July 14 and 21 the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office sponsored approximately 25 Teachers and staff of the Spring Hill School District in a concealed Carry Handgun Class taught by a Certified Arkansas State Police Concealed Carry Instructor.

Retired Police Chief and 25-year law enforcement veteran Jimmy Singleton and brother of Sheriff James Singleton volunteered his time at no charge to all who attended.  Several members of various church security teams also attended in all 35 persons completed the Concealed Carry Handgun course over the two day’s it was offered. Sheriff Singleton waived the $10 fingerprint fee normally charged for fingerprinting for all who attended. It will be up to each individual school board to authorize those teachers to have a handgun on campus.

A course will be scheduled in the near future for those teachers and staff in the Blevins School District who are interested in obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit. Sheriff Singleton recently met with the new superintendent of the Blevins School District to discuss security and safety plans for that district.

“We are trying to be innovative in how we deal with school safety and security in the Blevins and Spring Hill school Districts. As Sheriff I would like to see Certified Deputies (School Resource Officers) in each of the school’s However, until we secure funding there are others things we can do to provide some immediate security and safety measures that do not cost,” Singleton said.

“We plan to incorporate some of those measures in the 2018-2019 school year. The Sheriff’s Office wants to maintain an active group of civic-minded individuals who may serve as volunteers to assist deputies in providing for the public-safety and welfare of the students and teachers of the Blevins and Spring Hill School District.”

The Sheriff will utilize volunteers in a capacity that diminishes risk to the volunteers and does not place the volunteer in a law enforcement function. The volunteers will not be armed, unless they are law enforcement officers certified by the State of Arkansas. There have been several certified law enforcement officers that have children in the respective schools who have expressed an interest to volunteer every so often.

The HCSO has developed a guideline to where those citizens who wish to volunteer may do so after passing a background check and undergoing active shooter response training.

Expectations of volunteers: volunteers, like any member of Sheriff’s Office, will be expected to maintain the ethical standard of conduct demanded by the Sheriff’s Office. In all conduct relating to the Sheriff’s Office, volunteers are expected to act professionally and courteously to the public as well as to school officials.  The role of a police volunteer does not include the duty to investigate crimes, pursue, apprehend or prosecute law breakers.  Volunteers will not go beyond an “observe and report” function.

The Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing the students and facilities of Blevins and Spring Hill with the most effective security measures that are available. The sheriff has sent three of his deputies to training to deal with these type situations and the deputies will conduct active shooter classes to both school districts throughout the upcoming school year.

For more information on the volunteer program contact the Sheriff’s Office at 870-777-6727 and ask for an application for either the Spring Hill School District which will be called The “Bear Patrol”, The Blevins School District Volunteer Program will be Called the “Hornet” Patrol.

The sheriff and some of his deputies will attend each open house and be available to answer questions on our plan to secure these schools.