TAZEWELL, Va. — Tazewell County’s sheriff has received a letter of appreciation from Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety for his service on the Student Safety Workgroup, which was part of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, the sheriff’s office announced Monday.

Sheriff Brian Hieatt was selected for this special workgroup because of his years of experience and leadership working in the public school system, Chief Deputy Major Harold Heatley said. Part of the recommendations of the workgroup that passed through the General Assembly included a six million dollar increase for school security equipment and over one and a half million dollar increase to provide for School Resource Officers across the state.

Tazewell County’s schools benefited from both of these initiatives. Mandated training for all school resource officers and school administrators was also passed from recommendations from the Student Safety Workshop, according to statement issued by the sheriff’s office. Other recommendations that passed included funding for Threat Assessment Team Training, School Safety Trainings, and Active Shooter Awareness Trainings.

“This funding will help us continue the trainings and assessments we have been conducting,” Hieatt stated. “We have been doing active shooter trainings in our schools for over two years now, and created a School Safety Coordinator for Tazewell County a year ago. This year we implemented the Handle with Care program in our schools, so being appointed to this workgroup gave me an opportunity to share the ideas and advancements we have implemented in school safety here in Tazewell County with the rest of the state.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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