School system solicits bids for SRO services

Published 6:43 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Beaufort County Schools on Wednesday published its request for proposal (RFP) to provide school resource officer services at 12 of the district’s campuses.

The Beaufort County Board of Education reviewed and made adjustments to a draft of the RFP Tuesday night. Bids will be accepted until Friday, Feb. 26.

The RFP says the successful bidder will enter into a three-year contract with the school system beginning Aug. 15.

“Applicants must have the capacity to provide one SRO per school building for all days in which students will be present,” the document reads. “SROs must be sworn law enforcement professionals with all required training, certifications, and/or licensure.”

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office currently provides the school system with SROs, and will continue to do so until June. After that, the department won’t have the funding necessary to provide that service — although the Sheriff’s Office has shown interest in reviewing the RFP and potentially submitting a bid.

The SROs provided by the successful applicant will not be employees of Beaufort County Schools, which means the contractor will carry its own insurance. The RFP says the contractor will be required to maintain worker’s compensation, employer’s liability and commercial general liability insurance, as well as certification insurance coverage.

“The successful proposing company agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the Beaufort County Schools (i.e. Board of Education) from any liability that may arise from the negligent or illegal acts of the contractor’s employees,” the RFP says.

The document also lists standards and specifications that the contractor will be required to follow regarding operations, conduct, equipment, performance and other areas.

Stephen Rawson, a Raleigh-based attorney who drafted the RFP, emphasized to the school board that the RFP is not a contract. Some specific details to be included in the finalized agreement between the school system and the contractor will be crafted once a contractor is chosen.

Rawson added that the school board isn’t required to choose the low bidder.

“Because this is a services contract, the policy and the expectation is that you will go through a process that fosters competition and enables various vendors to put their best foot forward,” Rawson said.

Click HERE to view the entire RFP.