MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — No matter where you look at Northfield Elementary School, you will more than likely run into Officer Cole Glass.
“Our job is to be here and be their protector,” he said.
Keeping his students safe while building relationships is not only a job, but his passion.
“It’s the best job ever,” said Glass. “I get paid to have fun with kids and be their superhero; you can’t get any better than that.”
For years, every school within the Murfreesboro City School District has had a school resource officer.
“Our most important resource that we protect everyday is our kids,” said Capt. Don Fanning. “That’s our future, and so we really felt like it needs a lot of intentional supervision and direction.”
That is why the Murfreesboro Police Department has decided to create a brand new division focused solely on school safety.
“I’ve been at the police department about 29 years and it’s the first time we’ve done this,” said Fanning.
Fanning will be tasked with commanding this new division.
“This really has become the forefront of a lot of thoughts,” he said. “(It) is how do we prevent tragedy from happening in our community?”
Fanning said they aren’t only training and preparing for school shootings, but also other scenarios that could impact students.
“What about a tornado?” he said. “If a tornado comes, how are we going to manage that? What if a school was to flood? So we always think of the worst possible things, but we prepare for a lot of emergencies and contingencies, too.”
While safety is an important aspect of this new division, it’s those relationships with students Fanning knows is important to him and his officers.
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“I’ve had kids give me hugs and high fives,” said Glass. “I’ve had kids that are scared of me that we’ve been able to break that speed bump and now we are tight. So (it’s) all kinds of diversity….all kinds of success.”
Fanning said they’ve spent the entire summer training and preparing their school resource officers for the upcoming school year.
He said along with having every officer in Murfreesboro City Schools, they also have additional officers that can step in to patrol if an officer is out.