Local school districts get creative to fill SRO roles

Keeping kids safe at schools

(WBRC) - An On Your Side Investigation reveals the majority of schools in Central Alabama are not covered by armed law enforcement officers.

Of the 50 school districts in the FOX6 viewing area, only a quarter of district superintendents report having an equal number of school resource officers (SROs) and campuses.

However, several districts report the use of contracted security guards or arrangements with local police departments for officers to patrol schools during their shifts.

Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale recently vowed to work on hiring 26 more SROs in order to have one at each of the county's 56 schools. The district currently has 30 SROs covering their campuses.

Multiple districts assign SROs to rotate or patrol schools that are geographically close together. For example, Oneonta City has an elementary, middle and high school that adjoin each other and the resource officer is available to respond to the needs of each student population.

Several rural counties do not have a single-dedicated SRO working to secure their schools. Most districts rely on their local law enforcement agencies to fund and supply SROs. Some less populated municipalities cannot afford to pull a sworn officer out of patrol for assignment at a school.

Still, many small districts have found ways to fund a multitude of security measures, such as high-tech sign-in systems at school front offices, through grants or additional help from city councils or county commissions.

Click through this map to find out how many dedicated resource officers are present in your district.

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