ROBERTSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Superintendent Dr. Chris Causey is always thinking of ways to make Robertson County Schools more secure.
“If a kid is safe, and they’re well, and they’re fed, then they’re going to sit down and listen to someone who is trying to teach them something,” Causey said. “On the first day of school, which will be August the 5th for our students, all of our schools will have school resource officers.”
That’s been a goal since 2012. Causey said it’s the result of collaboration with the sheriff’s department, the school board, county commission and grant funds from the state.
“We’re very proud of that. We’re very blessed that they saw that as a priority, and now we’re seeing the effects of that commitment,” Causey said.
The district has also committed to adding more cameras and layers of security at entrances.
“You have to be buzzed into the school, you have to be buzzed into the office, and then we can check you out and make sure that you’re there for the purpose of education, for your child,” Causey explained.
“All our schools have secured entrances now that make people go in through the front office and check-in with their ID,” said Robertson County Sheriff Michael Van Dyke.
Van Dyke once served as a school resource officer at Clarksville High School.
“It was one of the most rewarding experiences I had in law enforcement because you got to see the same kids every day, and building those relationships and seeing how your presence can calm situations,” Van Dyke said.
Relationship building, Van Dyke said, is one biggest job responsibilities of an SRO.
“As you build those relationships, children start trusting you and bringing you information that helps protect everyone,” Van Dyke said.
SROs work with the school administration to develop emergency plans, they communicate with parents and often help resolve issues that happen off-campus.
“You’re building relationships for the future,” Van Dyke said. “That children understand that law enforcement is here to help them. And when they become adults, hopefully, they become great, productive members of our society.”
Officers go through six months of training to become an SRO. That includes 12 weeks at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy to receive a Tennessee Peace OfficersStandards and Training, or P.O.S.T., certification.
News 2 is digging deeper into evolving safety plans in school districts across Middle Tennessee.
We have special reports all day Thursday in every newscast that focus on classroom safety, keeping buses and school zones safer, and new initiatives to crack down on inappropriate relationships between students and teachers.