BURLINGTON, Ky. - Boone County deputies were as eager as kids on the first day of school Monday as they took up their new posts protecting students at the 14 elementary schools in the county.
“You couldn't hold us back,” said Lt. Dan Stephens, who was assigned to Stephens Elementary. “Deputies signed up as often as they could on their days off and after hours, before hours, just to be a part of this.”
Stephens has always considered Stephens Elementary his school since it’s named for distant relatives who once owned the property.
“I'm proud to be a part of what Sheriff Michael Helmig has done for us - to assist in protecting our most valuable asset, the children,” Stephens said.
Helmig ordered the additional security in the wake of the tragedy in Florida on Valentine’s Day. The county's middle and high schools already had a police presence. The sheriff and the schools are splitting the cost.
Stephens Principal Adele Gormley got the email Friday.
“I immediately replied to all, which I never do, which was to comment, ‘Wow! Fabulous!’” Gormley said.
Gormley said she felt safer Monday with a deputy there.
“I never felt unsafe here, but there's something about having police officers around,” she said.
Kelsie Cable, a Stephens parent, was happy about it, too.
“Personally my child loves to go to school, so whatever they have to do to keep her safe,” Cable said. “All of my other children, when they go, I am perfectly fine. I'm all for it. Just whatever needs to be done.”
The added deputies are not yet trained resource officers. That training could take place later.
"We're blessed with training upon training upon training," said Stephens. "Sheriff Helmig makes some of the best training available to us in the form of save training, active shooter training… and we’ll continue training for the potential."