MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. – The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors will meet Monday night to determine where the funding for school resource officers in the county will come from.
Christiansburg Town Council voted back in January to suspend funding for SROs within town limits, which caught Board of Supervisors Chair Sherri Blevins off guard.
“We have a positive relationship with law enforcement. I was very shocked that they would take those officers out of the school system,” Blevins said.
Christiansburg currently funds three SROs in three Christiansburg schools. They plan to remove those officers as soon as June 1. They want Montgomery County to provide the funding and work to staff the SRO program.
Superintendent Dr. Bernard Bragen said it’s all about funding.
“I was a little surprised but then when I looked deeper into it I think it’s more about funding and it was not related to the support they have for the school system,” Bragen said.
During a board work session last week, Montgomery County Sheriff Hank Partin said staffing these positions has been challenging.
To ensure there is an officer in every school, Sheriff Partin proposed his department would continue to cover the three elementary schools and the Christiansburg Police Department would leave their SROs in place, splitting the duties.
Blevins said the board is working towards getting SROs in every school, but this decision sets them back. She hopes the town reevaluates its decision.
“The resource officers are just not available. You have to have the certification, a good fit for each community,” Blevins said.
Bragen said SROs are vital in today’s climate.
“What we’re not trained in is police work. We’re not well trained in security and safety as it relates to safety, police officers are,” Bragen said.
10 News reached out to the Town of Christiansburg for comment, but they are waiting until Tuesday night’s town council meeting before figuring out how to move forward.