Memo details expansion of school resource officer program

Published 5:07 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A memorandum of understanding between the Beaufort County Board of Education and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office regarding the expansion of the agency’s School Resource Officer Program was a top agenda item for BOE members during the group’s meeting on Tuesday.

The BOE voted unanimously to adopt the agreement after hearing from BCSO Chief Deputy Charlie Rose on the implementation of the expansion. While the goal is to have SROs in every school, according to Rose, finding the right people to fill these positions may take some time.

“We’re going to do things as quickly as we can, but the positions that we’re looking to fill in the schools aren’t just cookie cutter positions,” Rose said. “We want law enforcement officers to be in the school, but not any law enforcement officer can fill those roles. They’ve got to be able to respond and take care of any law enforcement function, but you also have to be able to communicate effectively with students of any age, staff, faculty and parents.”

Currently, the BCSO employs seven school resource officers. According to the document, at the beginning of the school year, an officer will be stationed full time at each of the county’s three traditional high schools, the Beaufort County Ed. Tech Center and P.S. Jones Middle School. Officers will be shared among the schools that house middle grades in the county, with one covering Bath Elementary and Northeast Elementary and a second covering Chocowinity Middle School and S.W. Snowden Elementary School.

According to the document, “the BCSO agrees to use all reasonable efforts to continue expanding its School Resource Officer Program until each of the 13 schools in the county has an SRO. As additional SROs are hired, the parties will discuss the assignment of new SROs. During such interim period, the BCSO will assign an SRO or alternate law enforcement officer to respond to emergencies at schools without an assigned SRO.”

Schools eventually included in that expansion will be John Cotton Tayloe Elementary, Eastern Elementary, Chocowinity Primary School and John Small Elementary. The schools currently sharing an SRO will also have their own full time officer under the plan.

As a part of the county’s 2018-19 budget, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners allocated $765,326 to equip and pay for the additional six SROs needed to cover 13 of the county’s public schools.

Commissioners also appropriated $62,962 to pay for an additional police officer at Beaufort County Community College, ensuring that students attending the Early College High School will also have a dedicated officer.

According to Rose, any of the funds appropriated for the positions that are not utilized by the end of the fiscal year will revert back to the county.

The full text of the MOU can be viewed at, under the agenda for the July 31 meeting.