Sheriff mad over Chester’s hiring of private school security

Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood

CHESTER, S.C. — Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood says he’s upset over school officials’ decision to replace four deputies working as school resource officers with private security guards.

Local media outlets report that Superintendent Agnes Slayman on Friday hired Defender Services of Columbia.

School officials say the plan effective July 1 would put a security guard on each of the district’s nine campuses. Now, there are four deputies and one part-time person covering those areas.

School officials say Defender Services’ officers are licensed by the State Law Enforcement Division.

Underwood says he has long argued for more money to hire more officers to protect the schools. He also says the new guards would not be as well trained as his officers and that he’s losing funding for the four school officers he has.