ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – The duties of a school resource officer are broad, from mentoring and educating to keeping the school safe.
“We do everything we can to make sure all the schools are secure, doors are closed, not propped open. Classrooms doors are closed. And teaching these students, administration and the teachers what to do in the case of certain incidents,” said Sgt. Dan Walters of the Roanoke County Police Department, who oversees its SRO program.
For more than two decades, the Roanoke County Police Department has provided school resource officers to high schools, middle schools and elementary schools in the county. But it’s not always feasible with personnel.
“Due to our staffing issues right now, like it is with any police agency across the country, we’re able to only provide six officers currently so we have five of our high schools each filled with an assigned SRO, and one middle school,” added Walters.
Last week, the Roanoke County School Board approved $180,000 to fund the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office with six additional SROs.
“I think it’s huge for the community as well as the schools. I don’t think there’s anything out there that is more important than the kids and our schools,” said Capt. Chad Beheler with the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office currently provides two school resource officers for all of Roanoke County Elementary Schools. These six additional officers will make a huge impact on how much time they can spend at each school per day.
“Having eight obviously each one would have two schools, so they could spend half the day at one school and have the day at the other,” Beheler explained.
Both the school board and law enforcement are committed to the safety of students.