Logan County’s high school and five feeder schools in Adairville, Auburn, Chandlers, Lewisburg, and Olmstead will continue sharing three school resource officers (SRO) in the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
The Logan County School District serves approximately 3500 students in the system which calculates to 1166 students per officer to protect, not counting administrators, educators, and support staff.
The county’s fiscal court approved a contract with the Logan County School System Tuesday to provide three trained and certified deputies who are to work at all times when school is in session, as well as during teacher training days. The district agrees to reimburse the county 60% of the officer’s wages and benefits totaling up to 195 days per year. When school is not in session, the deputies will be working the road.
“This contract is a little bit better than it has been,” said Judge-Executive Logan Chick. “In the past, they (school system) were paying 50% of the salaries. I think the system might have received some additional federal dollars to be able to increase that amount.”
The school system used to be monitored with one SRO a few years ago. Two additional SRO positions were added by the fiscal court in 2018, at the request of Logan County Superintendent Paul Mullins.
“We have a duty to protect the schools and the students. I think this is an idea that needs to go forward for the safety of the kids,” said then sheriff Wallace Whittaker in 2018.
According to the National Association of School Resource Officers, a well-founded school resource officer program is one of the best school security investments a community can make. The return on that investment, however, goes well beyond school security.
An SRO is a specialized field within the law enforcement profession, akin to the specialties of special weapons and tactics, hostage negotiation, crisis intervention, and others. Like other specialties, the SRO work requires specialized training, above and beyond that which law enforcement academies initially provide to new officers.
SROs develop positive relationships with students enabling them to gather valuable information that helps them intervene before violence occurs. In their law enforcement role, SROs are the first lines of defense when unpreventable violence occurs. SROs can and have ended school violence, including shootings, thus mitigating the effects of such incidents.
It was mentioned in 2018 by former magistrate Dickie Carter, he would like to see an SRO at each of the county’s six schools. Superintendent Mullins agreed but understood the county’s budget constraints and believed the three can do the job. The current sheriff, Stephen Stratton said he would like to see at least four SROs in the county school system.