Elmore County school district adds more school resource officers

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 7:48 PM CDT
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ELMORE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Elmore County school system is doing more this year to ensure the safety of its students and staff on campus. Along with training from local law enforcement, the district has added additional school resource officers.

Superintendent Richard Dennis said they’ve added eight more school resource officers across their campuses this year. Some are full-time SROs assigned to specific campuses, and others are officers that have come in from local law enforcement agencies. All of them are fully equipped and certified.

“Our ultimate goal is to have a resource officer, a constant resource officer there that people recognize. The kids get to know them, the faculty gets to know them, that’s what we’re looking to achieve,” said Dennis.

“My head’s more on a swivel, now more than ever,” said Josh Highland, Wetumpka High School’s full-time school resource officer.

Highland said there’s a heighted attention to safety this year after the Uvalde, Texas shooting at Robb Elementary School in May, which killed 19 students and two teachers.

“Seeing what’s happening, I just have to make sure I don’t become complacent,” Highland said.

“Taking that extra step to walk around just a little more, checking the outside perimeter, making sure there isn’t some random person walking around.”

Dennis feels that their biggest challenge will be maintaining policies and procedures like making sure that all doors on campus are locked, but he says teachers and staff are getting help with training from local enforcement.

“Every day you have to go through those same procedures and if you fail it could be the one day, as it happened in Texas, that something takes place,” Dennis said.

Highland assured families in Elmore County that they are doing everything possible to keep students safe.

“I just want the parents to know that it is OK to send your kids to school. We are doing the best we can to make sure that there are officers around the school system, and we’re coming up with ideas to up the security even more,” Highland said.

Dennis said the need for more SROs comes with the growth of the school system. Across their 16 schools they have about 11,339 students, a number Dennis says will grow over the next six weeks.

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