The Chattooga County School District will soon have a School Resource Officer (SRO) allocated to each school.
The Board of Education recently agreed to amend the current contract with the Chattooga County Sheriff’s office to increase the number of School Resource Officers from two to six. The additional officers will ensure “the safety of all the students in the Chattooga County School System,” Superintendent Lenderman said.
Currently, there are SROs assigned to Chattooga High School and Summerville Middle School. The four additional SROs will be designated for Leroy Massey Elementary School, Lyerly School, Menlo School and the Chattooga County Education Center.
Sheriff Mark Schrader provided a contract which outlined the Standard Operating Procedures for School Resource Officers to the Board of Education. The contract explained the terms and conditions, goals and objectives, qualifications, duties and services to be performed by the SRO in the Chattooga County School System.
Sheriff Schrader is in charge of assigning, hiring and training the SROs to the individual schools. “I think it is a great idea. I am happy to work with the Board of Education on supplying resource officers to all of our schools. I appreciate their work and willingness to take on the additional funding,” Sheriff Schrader said.
The six SRO officers will represent a financial impact of just under $300,000. “Under our current agreement, the Board of Education reimburses the county for all salary and benefit related costs (salary, insurance, retirement, FICA etc) and I provide the training, equipment, vehicle etc. The cost to the Board of Education is roughly $47,000 per deputy. It could be a little more or less depending on the deputy’s length of employment,” Sheriff Schrader said. This is money the school system has available and the Board feels is best directed at maintaining a safe and secure learning environment.
“Although some people don’t support the four day week, the money we save because of the four day week has allowed us to have the additional $200,000 to hire an SRO for every school,” Superintendent Lenderman said. (two SROs salaries were already in the budget)
Requirements for the SRO officers include being P.O.S.T certified law enforcement officers, with two years of law enforcement experience and complete the 84-hour Basic School Resource Officer Program offered by the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. The School Resource Officer program is a nationally accepted program involving the placement of a law enforcement officer within the educational environment. The officer, while in school, is involved in a variety functions centered around safety and crime prevention in the school.
The Georgia Pubic Safety Training Center states the SRO training, “is intended for law enforcement officers assigned as, or anticipating assignment as, a School Resource Officer.Topics will include the Role of the SRO Within the School Environment, Search and Seizure in the School, Juvenile Law, Criminal Offenses, Gang Awareness, Drug Awareness, Interviews and Interrogations, Emergency Preparedness, FERPA, Restraint and Seclusion, Crisis Intervention and Mental Health Awareness, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Tactical Casualty Combat Care, Active Shooter, Instructional Strategies, Eight (8) hours of Verbal Defense and Influence, and Report Writing.”
The Chattooga County Board of Education also approved unanimously Superintendent Lenderman’s recommendation of the installation of a safe at each school in the district, and permission to store appropriate weaponry, as provided by the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office. Read more regarding that decision here.