CHOCTAW COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – School resource officers are becoming more and more common across school districts.
The growing number of SROs, comes after the rise of school shootings across the country.
School districts in Mississippi aren’t required to have resource officers, but many do.
The Choctaw County School District has one district wide officer, whose purpose is keeping students safe.
This school resource officer walks the halls of every school in Choctaw County, every day class is in session.
It’s not a job just anybody can do.
“You have to be law enforcement certified in the state of Mississippi to be a school resource officer. I had to go to a training school for seven days this past December and so you have to be certified to do it. They can’t just have a random person in there,” says school resource officer, Bradley Fancher.
Fancher is also a Choctaw County Sheriff’s Deputy.
A $10,000 dollar SRO grant from the state helped make his position possible.
“We go through our grant with the help of the board of supervisors. The district pays money to the board of supervisors and that in turn goes to the sheriff’s department and the sheriff’s department places an officer at our school district,” says Superintendent Glen Beard of Choctaw County Schools.
While many school districts have SROs, some still don’t.
“Everything comes down to funding, but we’ve made it a priority here in our district, to find a way to fund that because it’s a very, very important part of our school,” says Beard.
Fancher has to complete so many hours of training every year and stays for every event that takes place after school.
Protecting the students and being seen are the biggest parts of his job.
“It’s important for the parents to know that I’m there because I’m there for their kids. I want their kids to feel safe and I want them to know that when they drop their kid off, that there is somebody there that is willing to protect them,” says Fancher.
He says his role as a resource officer is good for relations between students and the sheriff’s department.
“These kids need to know, ‘hey, this guy is my friend,’ because most kids grew up thinking that a police officer, that a deputy, is somebody they should fear and that’s one of the great things about this is they can see that I’m a nice guy. I’m there for them. I’m their friend and I want them to come to me if it’s ever a serious situation, rather than running from me.”
Fancher says SROs also have to go through a two day active shooter training course.
He has been in law enforcement for seven years and a SRO for two years.