A former police lieutenant is the new director of school security for Metro schools, and he's got ideas and changes to make right off the bat.
He may be the new man on the job, but James Wheeler said he's stepping in with a lot of experience, and motivation to keep students safe.
"Really, what we're doing is acting on the plans that are currently in place, trying to increase school security," Wheeler said.
A former Metro police lieutenant with more than 25 years of law enforcement under his belt, Wheeler will help develop a new school system safety and security plan.
He said his first move is to help teachers protect students from inside their classrooms.
"We're starting off with the interlock system," he said. "What the interlock does is allows you to lock the door from the inside. In the past, the only way to lock a classroom was to go outside."
Next, Wheeler said the district will have more eyes on some of Metro's youngest students.
"We're looking to put a minimum of eight surveillance cameras into place at each elementary school. That would be for outside surveillance as well as inside surveillance," he said.
Wheeler said it's not just about the fancy gadgets. Instead, he sees school security as a three-part system.
"You've got parents and students, school security and SROs - everybody in the building," he said.
Wheeler said it's vitally important for parents to get involved in their children's safety and for teachers and administrators to help students know and understand what will keep them safe.
The interlock plan and security camera system were already in the works when Wheeler took the job, but he said he's excited to make them a reality and continue providing a direct link between the schools and the police department.
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