Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Owen County School Superintendent Dr. Robert Stafford, Owen County Judge/Executive Casey Ellis, and Owen County Sheriff Mark Bess this week announced the creation of a School Resource Officer (SRO) Program to be implemented within the Owen County School District following the expected return to in-person classes Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.
The program provides one SRO for the district’s four schools. The SRO will travel between schools daily to assist school administration in maintaining a safe and secure environment by handling situations such as possible weapons violations, identifying controlled substances, and providing a visible presence to deter or identify trespassers on campus. The SRO will also serve as a mentor to students of all ages.
The SRO will be selected by and serve as an employee of the Owen County Sheriff’s Office. The district will provide the SRO’s salary. The county will provide all equipment, including uniforms, firearms, radios, and vehicles necessary, per a year-to-year contract between the district and the county.
The contract met the district’s approval at the Sept. 21 Owen County Board of Education meeting and preliminary approval from the Owen County Fiscal Court at its Sept. 22 meeting.
“The school district appreciates the support given by Judge Ellis, Owen County Attorney Josh Smith, Sheriff Bess, and the Owen County Fiscal Court to make an SRO possible,” Superintendent Stafford said. “School safety is a community effort, and their leadership demonstrates how serious they are in helping provide a safe and supportive environment for our students.”
In addition to the SRO’s day-to-day duties, the successful candidate will serve as an active member of the Owen County Drug Prevention Coalition and other local initiatives that aim to prevent, deter, and treat substance abuse.
“The members of the Owen County Fiscal Court and I are pleased to have the opportunity and the resources to support the school district in its quest to provide a safe environment for our children,” Judge/Executive Ellis said. “We applaud the board of education and district staff for their efforts in ensuring the safety and prosperity of all students and stand behind them 100%.”
An announcement naming the SRO is forthcoming.
“I appreciate the support and diligent efforts of Superintendent Stafford, Judge Ellis, and the fiscal court for making an SRO position possible,” Sheriff Bess said. “The safety of our students is of paramount importance and positive, daily interaction with law enforcement is vitally important as well.”