The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

August 23, 2013

Officials: School Resource Officers do help

— GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — No statistics show what hasn't happened because of school resource officers, Alan Cosby, superintendent of Etowah County Schools, said.

"We'll never know what all you've prevented," Cosby told officers who went through training last week at the Etowah County Sheriff's Office.

"There's no statistic out there. We probably don't want to know."

Cosby said he remembers when there were no SROs, and he thinks the presence of officers in schools makes a huge difference.

"We appreciate what you do," he said. "You put your lives on the line and now we couldn't operate without you."

Cosby said times have changed and principals rely heavily on SROs.

"They're the first line of defense for principals," he said. "You bring so much to what we do as educators."

SROs have played a big role in helping create safety plans in their schools.

The state Department of Education requires every school to have a safety plan on file in Montgomery and the plan is placed in Virtual Alabama — a mapping system that gives immediate access to maps and other important information within the schools.

It's important that the officers be familiar with the schools and the safety plans. That's why the training was important for them.

From classroom time to actual training for an active shooting situation, it's all about being as prepared as possible.

Drills, for instance, traditionally have been done at convenient times.

But officials are looking into having drills for tornadoes, fires and lockdowns at inconvenient times.

"Bad things don't happen at convenient times," Cosby said. There are plans to conduct some drills at lunch and while students are changing classes.

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