The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

June 18, 2013

Only 13 apply, so far, for SRO jobs

By Jean Cole

— Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely expected to get more than 13 applicants for the 12 school resource officer positions he is planning to fill before school starts.

He has decided to allow any certified officers who would still like to apply for a job to do so this week.

In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last year, school officials and Limestone County commissioners decided to assign part-time officers at Blue Springs, Cedar Hill, Creekside, Johnson, Piney Chapel and Owens elementaries. The six high schools in Limestone County already had full-time resource officers assigned.

“We did not get as many applications as I thought we would,” Blakely said Monday. “We would like to have had 30 or 40, but there is no reason to think there will not be enough to fill the positions. We have to have eight (new) SROs, but would like to have 13 so we have extra people for those who do not want to work the full week.”

Officials will now begin reviewing the applicants to make sure they qualify. SROs must be certified by the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training and the National Association of School Resource Officers. Retired officers may need APOST recertification, and all new officers must complete 40 hours of SRO training.

“They can’t be security guards,” the sheriff said.

The Limestone County Commission and Limestone County Schools are splitting the $756,908 annual cost of both the full and part-time officers.