NEWPORT, N.C. (WNCT) – February 15 was School Resource Officer Appreciation Day to recognize them for all the hard work they do.
WNCT wanted to take a look at their day-to-day duties in Carteret County. Each school within the county has at least one SRO patrolling the campus, seven of which belong to the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s a goal that we’ve all been trying to get to for some time. And it’s really a, you can’t really measure, you can’t really quantify all the things that the SROs do,” said Sheriff Asa Buck.
As the school day begins, so does the work to keep students and staff safe.
“We have our current car line in the morning where all the kids are getting dropped off, and I’m normally out front, you know, helping the kids get out of the car,” said Sgt. Fred Meadows.
Meadows has been an SRO for more than 20 years and now works at Bogue Sound Elementary School.
“The rest of the day is just routine patrols, walking through the hallways, checking all the exterior doors that we have, making sure they remain locked, secured, making sure no one’s propped anything open,” said Lt. Timmy Quillen.
Quillen was Sheriff Asa Buck’s first hire, moving up through positions to now serve as Croatan High School’s current SRO.
Both say there are definitely hard days on the job.
“When I was at Croatan and having a freshman that, you know, maybe that didn’t make the best choices,” said Meadows.
Being able to help students grow and be their role models are the things they’ll always remember.
“Them making contact with you saying, ‘you know, thank you so much for helping when I was a freshman, because now I’m doing pretty good’,” he said.
The two SROs added that the relationships they’ve built is the best part of the job.
“We’re here not to just be deterring the negative thing. But to be proactive and to be there for their students, whether it’s a shoulder to cry on, somebody to talk to, be your friend, to help with sports, whatever it may be,” said Quillen.
Buck added that he’s proud of the dedication from law enforcement throughout the county, but especially the SROs that keep the schools safe.