CHARLOTTE, Tenn. (WKRN) — “I’m always on my cameras. I’m always walking around. I’m always checking the parking lots,” said school resource officer and former soldier Josh Liberty.
Liberty takes every second of his job seriously, “I have 500 and some kids here. I have all these kids’ lives in my hand every day.”
His main priority is anticipating and assessing risks, combatting crime before it happens. “You have rural counties like Dickson County where everybody knows everybody. But do you really know that person?” Liberty asked.
SRO Liberty is referring to the external threats most pressing for students this age, an act of mass violence at school and child predators. “The babies go out there to play and, you never know because anybody can just roll-up. There’s no limited access especially to the roadways.”
It is why Liberty stands guard every time the children are outside. “I try to see people and be visible.”
Security remains a top priority, even after the school day ends, continuing right up to the school pick-up line. “Especially around I-40,” Liberty explained. “We have human trafficking. I-40 runs from east coast to west coast. So they’re here and then could be gone in an hour.”
Crime in school is evolving and educators are concerned – News 2 is investigating what school districts are doing about it. Find more special reports on Crime in School on WKRN.com.
Liberty and the team at Charlotte Elementary School have very strict rules in place that everyone must adhere to. “Listen, if you show up, and you don’t have what you need to have, and you’re not on that person’s list, you’re not picking that child up until we can verify,” he said.
It’s consistent and proactive policing that the school encourages parents to practice at home as well.