The four new School Resource Officers have completed training and began their duties Monday morning at the schools to which they have been assigned.
Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Monday that the SRO officers will be working at the following schools:
Officer Terry Cowart, Jr. at Smithville Elementary School
Officer Roger Whitehead at Northside Elementary School
Officer Chris McMillen at DeKalb Middle School
Officer Kenneth Whitehead at DeKalb County High School
Officer Lewis Carrick at DeKalb West School.
SROs are new to all schools except DCHS where officer Kenneth Whitehead has worked as an SRO for several years.
"The new SRO's just completed a 40 hour intense School Resource Officer Training Seminar in Williamson County," said Sheriff Ray. "They graduated last Friday. They started Monday morning at the schools to which they were assigned. Each school resource officer and I met with their principal, some of the teachers, and some of the students. We were made to feel very welcomed in each and every school. I plan to meet with the SRO's every week to discuss what is going on at each school to keep me up to date. That way I can pass information on to the deputies and detectives or back to the SRO's if I need to," he said.
According to Sheriff Ray, a School Resource Officer is intended to be more than just an armed guard at the school. " The main goal of the school resource officer is to prevent juvenile delinquency. He does that by promoting positive relations between youth and law enforcement," said Sheriff Ray. "These five school resource officers are not just cops on the school campus. These school resource officers provide law enforcement duties but they also provide education and counseling. They educate the students by teaching law related classes and other subjects in the classroom and they also counsel both the students and the parents on various topics. The SRO's main objective is to be a positive role model in the life of a student. It's intended for the school resource officer program to bridge a gap between juveniles and law enforcement. By doing this, it is to help prevent juvenile crime," he said.
County funds have been budgeted this year to pay for the four new SRO officers. Two of the positions are funded in the county general budget and the other two by the school budget. "I would like to thank County Mayor Mike Foster, the county commission, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, and the DeKalb County Board of Education for allowing funding for the extra four school resource officers this year. We have a total of five schools in DeKalb County and now all five schools has an SRO assigned to them," said Sheriff Ray.
(Left to Right: Officers Lewis Carrick, Terry Cowart, Jr. Roger Whitehead, Chris McMillan, Kenneth Whitehead, and Sheriff Patrick Ray)