SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WAVE) – While some school districts like JCPS are getting rid of their school resource officers, Scott County District 2 is stepping up, establishing a permanent program for SROs in schools.
The first day of school can bring some nerves.
“I was a little nervous and a little excited, a little bit of both,” said Rachael Mount, a freshman at Scottsburg High School.
Now, with a permanent school resource program in place, there’s one less reason for students and staff to worry.
“Should something happen, I think our response time is improved by having officers here at the campus,” said Marc Slaton, Superintendent of Scott County District 2 Schools. “You cannot put a price on the value of response time, and getting to a situation and getting to engage that situation.”
Under the district’s plan, there will be six SROs, one for each of the district’s schools. Three of those are in the county, so those three will come from the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. The other three schools sit within city lines, so they’ll be supplied by the Scottsburg Police Department.
At Scottsburg High School, it’s Sgt. Rodney Watts patrolling the hallways. The 20-year veteran of the police department wanted to spend his days here protecting the school, something for which students there are grateful.
“The student resource officer makes me feel at ease learning, and I think it makes me feel safer,” Mount said.
“It helps knowing there’s somebody there to protect us and to just help us if something happens,” said Gavin Borden, a junior at Scottsburg High School.
Implementing a district-wide SRO plan took about a year and a half. School leaders started planning for it after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, working with leaders from the city of Scottsburg, as well as the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, Scott County commissioners and county council to make their plan work.
Borden said he doesn’t often worry about something serious happening at his school.
“Not really,” Borden said. “And just having that resource officer just keeps it out of my head.”
Like the addition of handheld metal detector wands, Slaton said this is just another piece of their overall school safety plan, one they intend to continue to change and improve on in the years to come.
“The SRO, deputy in school program, that’s another piece to it,” Slaton said. “Now, we go back to the drawing board and say, ‘What’s next?’”