Auburn City Schools increases number of school resource officers

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Auburn City Schools are doing more to enhance the safety of students and staff across all campuses this year by increasing their number of school resource officers.

The Auburn Police Department has further increased school resource officer staffing to assign at least one officer at each school campus for the duration of the school year.

Auburn Assistant Police Chief Clarence Stewart said before this school year the district had SROs at every school but some would float between campuses. Now with more staff, all Auburn city schools have at least one police officer assigned to be present during school hours with a minimum of two officers assigned to Auburn High School and Auburn Junior High School daily.

“What everyone would like to see is a safe school, a safe learning environment so that all of our children can go there and concentrate on what they’re there for and that’s getting a good education,” Stewart said.

Auburn Police Chief Cedric Anderson said in a statement, “We are fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with the schools in Auburn. The responsibility to protect the community, especially our schools, is of the utmost importance and wouldn’t be possible without the support of a number of people. We are also pleased to have a number of veteran officers respond and commit to safeguarding our schools.”

All of the city’s SROs come from the Auburn Police Department and some of the additional officers are recently retired who have returned to the force to be full-time SROs.

“Some are retired with over 25 years of experience,” Stewart said. “But what we did was as a vetting process, again, we looked at people not just because of their aptitude or their skill sets, but more so their temperament and their willingness to do the job at hand and their sense of urgency as far as the safety of our children.”

Stewart said the increased presence and vast experience of the officers will further enhance protection of students and staff while also fostering relationships between residents and police.

Having an assigned SRO on every campus was a goal the city, board of education, and police department had been working to achieve for a while, but Stewart said in light of what we have seen nationally, there was no better time than now to increase staffing.

“I think with everything that’s going on in the nation now, I think that brought some attention to it,” Stewart said.

APD is also increasing their K-9 units to assist with detecting explosives, handguns and narcotics.

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