GRAHAM, N.C. (WGHP) — More school resource officers are on the way to the Alamance-Burlington school district.
The Alamance county commission voted 4-1 Monday to set funds aside in the 2022-23 budget cycle to hire 14 new full-time school resource officers.
Hiring more SROs is something the school district has wanted to do for a while, but the recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas brought more urgency to the issue.
Currently, every school in the district has a full-time SRO with the exception of 14 elementary schools where there are only part-time SROs.
Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson says he fully supports adding more officers in schools, but he had some concerns about the cost.
“For every officer, you’ve got to have equipment, a car and a uniform and I’m hoping the commissioners will find that money because it will drain our budget completely on any other thing to have to do that,” Johnson said.
Johnson added that he thinks every school needs SRO but he’s also concerned about where they’ll come from. He says his office is short-staffed as are many police departments, and there are issues with using retired law enforcement since they can only work 1,000 hours per year without losing their benefits.
The Alamance County School Board Chair, Sandy Ellington-Graves explained that the hope is to work with the municipalities to share the costs.
“It is kind of a cost-share per se where we fund about 70 thousand dollars per position than the municipalities fund that hard cost through vehicles, weapons training, etc. So it is kind of a joint effort and we work together with our municipalities to do that,” she said.
The funding for the 14 positions is already there. The goal is to hire 10 full-time SROs immediately, to have them working by August 29 when school starts back. Once those ten are hired, the county will open up the last four positions, for a total of 14 new SROs.