Desoto County News

Horn Lake board talks SROs, fireworks

Medical cannabis discussion tabled to mid-July

Photo: Horn Lake City Hall (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)

Horn Lake aldermen Tuesday discussed a proposal for sheriff’s deputies to serve as school resource officers in city schools, heard one aldermen’s disappointment in how fireworks dealers were adhering to a city ordinance, but tabled expected discussion about the new medical cannabis law and when the city might opt into the new law.  

SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS: DeSoto County Schools (DCS) has budgeted $2 million to fund school resource officers (SROs) in every DCS school during the coming school year, or about $60,000 per school, when classes begin for the new school year on Aug. 4.  

Mayor Allen Latimer told aldermen Tuesday he had been presented a proposal from the Sheriff’s Department that they could provide SROs for six Horn Lake schools if the city would share in the cost at about $30,000 per school. 

The proposal was met with several questions by aldermen wanting to learn more and comments from Police Chief Troy Rowell that, while there are advantages to having six more officers on the streets, paying the county for school protection his department could provide didn’t sound like a good idea.  

“Personally, I would be opposed to giving the county money,” Rowell said. “We’re a city within DeSoto County. Our citizens already pay Horn Lake city taxes, plus to DeSoto County, plus the school board. I don’t see where my tax dollars should go toward giving more money that’s earmarked for the city, then turn around and give it to DeSoto County.”

Alderwoman LaShonda Johnson asked Latimer to look into the issue further, saying, “I think there are some unanswered questions here that we certainly need to have answered before we make a decision.”

Alderman Jackie Bostick added, “If they want SROs in the schools and he (Supt. Cory Uselton) is going to make that commitment, then I’m sure they (DCS) will find the money to do that. They’re going to guarantee they’re going to have SROs whether they get the money or not.”

Another question that came up was regarding who would provide coverage for the DeSoto County Alternative Center, or DCAC. Latimer said a proposal from the school district was that if Horn Lake officers became SROs at the school located in Horn Lake, the city would be compensated at $80,000 annually. 

Certified school district law enforcement officers are now staffed at the education center for students who have received long-term suspensions from their home attendance centers.  

“DCAC has been a ‘hot potato’ between the school board and law enforcement in DeSoto County for as long as there has been a school resource officer program,” Rowell related to the board. “Horn Lake has never staffed DCAC. Originally, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department staffed it for a number of years. It was about 2010 when they pulled their deputy out of that school and the school board staffed it.”

Rowell also reminded the board about possible liability, saying, “You have more liability in that school than the other schools combined.” 

Johnson added the students who attend DCAC come from all across the county and are not limited to just Horn Lake. Latimer said he’d discuss the matter more with Uselton and will bring answers back to the board.  

FIREWORKS ABOUT FIREWORKS: Maybe not fireworks, but one aldermen expressed disappointment with how some fireworks dealers were not adhering to the city’s new ordinance regarding the sale of fireworks during the July 4 holiday. 

Alderman Jackie Bostick shared what he discovered on a tour of three fireworks tents after a complaint about illegal usage over the weekend. 

Bostick has actively opposed fireworks sale and use in Horn Lake, especially after a residence near his home was destroyed by fire last July, having caught fire by errant fireworks.  

Vendors are supposed to provide each customer a printed rundown on local ordinances with each purchase. Bostick said one dealer had the list printed on plastic bags but when he bought some fireworks those regulations were not pointed out to him. Another dealer claimed the restrictions listed were on the e-receipts provided but not in printed form as Bostick said was required. A third didn’t have the list readily available at all but had to go back into an office area to find one copy.  

“When I introduced myself, you can imagine the look on his face because he knew how much I fought to stop the shooting of fireworks and the sale of fireworks in the city,” Bostick said. “It’s very disappointing when they were part of the committee and they agreed to do this that I had to ask for this at all three vendors. In my opinion, they violated the ordinance.”  

Bostick noted a house burned in the Memphis community of Frayser this year, similar to what happened in Horn Lake last year.   

Police Chief Troy Rowell told aldermen there were 30 calls for service regarding fireworks over the weekend, but no citations were issued.  

MEDICAL CANNABIS TABLED: Aldermen were scheduled to discuss the medical cannabis issue during Tuesday night’s meeting but the agenda item was tabled to the next regular meeting. Alderman Dave Young, who with Mayor Allen Latimer heard the County Board of Supervisors’ discussion about their recently-enacted medical cannabis ordinance for the unincorporated county, was ill and only able to be part of Tuesday’s meeting by phone. Board members chose to table the item to the next meeting so Young could be in attendance.  

Horn Lake and Southaven were two DeSoto County cities who chose to opt out of the new state law regarding medical cannabis. Questions about local zoning control and other questions were behind the cities’ move. The cities can opt into the state law at any point and both appear ready to do so when those questions are satisfied and their local ordinances regarding business placement are finalized.  

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