School resource officers, safety measures a part of statewide conversation

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- If you walk into any middle or high school in Guilford County, you will find an officer roaming the halls.

“They take their job very, very seriously. They come to work each day signing a blank check saying that they are going to serve and protect,” Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes said.

The sheriff's office has a school resource officer in every school outside of Greensboro and High Point city limits. It’s something Barnes says he would like to see more of.

“I would love to have more officers in the schools. Anytime you have that kind of coverage it's helpful but because of the finances that are available and there's a need for teachers, for example, there's a need for new buildings. There are all kinds of needs out here,” Barnes said.

This comes just a day after Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel announced the armed school resource deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida didn't go inside during last week's shooting.

However, Barnes says there are other things that should be done to improve school safety too.

“We need to harden the target. We need to lock doors, meaning we need to have one access into a school. If you need to start putting things like metal detectors in there then that's what we need to have done,” he said.

Erik Hooks, North Carolina secretary of public safety, says this week he met with numerous law enforcement agencies in Raleigh to talk about improving safety.

“So, we've talked about where we are as far as the training our preparedness and we always look to be better, but beyond that we wanted to sit down and have conversations about prevention,” he said. “For me, the key elements are the school resource officers and addressing the various things that young people go through. So, we have to improve the security at the schools. I have certainly heard that conversation about arming teachers and that's not something that I gravitate toward quite frankly.”

FOX8 reached out to Burlington, Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem police, along with the Davidson County Sheriff's Office, and all of them tell us that they are very confident in their SRO training.

They say they do things like active shooter drills throughout the year.

Hooks said he wants to continue the conversation about school safety and even set up a meeting here locally.

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