ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — We are looking into what it will take to get school resource officers in every elementary, middle and high school before Alamance-Burlington School System kids start the year on Aug. 29.
The district’s Board of Education members just unanimously approved funding for the full-time staffing.
Hiring nine SROs will put someone on all 35 campuses.
While it may seem like a lot, school officials are confident they will have them when the first bell rings.
Hearing that news has helped calm the worries parents have after seeing what’s unfolded at schools in the Piedmont Triad and across the country.
“That’s best for the overall safety of the schools,” said ABSS parent Clinton Robinson.
He doesn’t want anything to happen to his three elementary school-age boys or their classmates this school year.
When he learned that the ABSS would have a school resource officer at every school in the county come Aug. 29., he said it makes him feel safer.
Right now, there are 15 full-time school resource officers at all high and middle schools in the district, and 11 part-time officers work at some elementary schools.
Now $2.7 million in state and local funds will be used to make sure there are 35 SROs divided among all schools full-time, including elementary schools.
Les Atkins is the public information officer for the district.
“Obviously, they are highly trained officers, so they can defuse situations, but that’s not what they’ll be doing on a daily basis. On a daily basis, they will be building relationships with our students.” Atkins said.
School district leaders are working with the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, Burlington, Elon, Graham, Mebane and Haw River Police Departments to fill the positions.
“They will be coming from those various departments. For example, those schools in Mebane will be under the jurisdiction of the PD in Mebane. Graham Schools will be under the jurisdictions of the Graham PD. So they essentially have to answer for the chiefs in the department,” Atkins said.
Elon’s Police Chief Kelly Blackwelder plans to hire a new officer to work in the one school in her jurisdiction.
If she must assign someone already on staff, she will make sure it does not affect officers on patrol.
“School safety is priority. Obviously, this is just one piece to the puzzle to keep ABSS safe. It’s an important piece,” she said
All the law enforcement departments will be responsible for uniform and equipment costs.
Each department’s costs will be different depending on the need.