With so many school shootings around the country, city, county and school officials in Dickson County have a plan in place to equip all schools with a School Resource Officer.
Tuesday was the first day on the job for the new SRO at Dickson Elementary School.
School officials said the goal is to make sure schools are safe and secure.
The county has allocated $500,000 to add the new SROs, but they said you can’t put a price tag on safety.
It’s day one for Officer Jamie Patterson at Dickson Elementary School.
Patterson is a Dickson City police, but his new job assignment is making sure Dickson Elementary is safe both inside and out.
“We’ll try to just walk around, pull on the doors to make sure they are all shut, you don’t want any doors that are not supposed to be open to be open and make sure they are all secured,” Patterson said. “Actually, being here, you get to know whose vehicles should be here and whose shouldn’t, where they park. If anything is out of place that’s something you can check, it might be somebody that’s not supposed to be here.”
Dickson Elementary Principal Mandy Roach said the SRO adds another level of safety and security for the school.
“We love that we are going to have our own SRO who can get to know our students and build a rapport with them and make them feel comfortable with seeing a police officer and asking for help or just knowing that they can be a resource or an additional resource if they ever had that need,” Roach said.
There have been several school shootings across the country, and Patterson is hoping there is never another one.
“I think that’s every law enforcement officer’s objective is to try to make the school safe enough so you don’t have to hear about those again,” he said.
That’s the main reason school board officials are planning to add an SRO in every elementary, middle and high school in the county.
“That’s everyone’s worse nightmare that we like to avoid but at the same time we know that the School Resource Officer program has a lot of other benefit and advantages to as well,” said Dickson County Schools Director of Student Services Steve Sorrells.
The SROs will also be able to get to know students and build relationships.
“If they see something, they can say something because that’s what going to be important for everybody to understand, it takes a community effort for school safety,” said Dickson Police Department Captain Todd Christian, who is also supervisor of the SRO program.
School officials hope to add an SRO in all 15 county schools by the end of the school year.
As of now, all Dickson County Schools, within the city limits, currently have at least one full-time SRO.