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New SROs to begin training next week

Allied Universal has a full staff of 13 police officers ready to take on school resource officer duties for Beaufort County Schools this year, and they’ll begin on-campus training sessions next week.

Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman said Tuesday that Allied Universal is working on obtaining a couple of cars and finalizing other details. He said the 13 officers will attend the Aug. 10 school board meeting, where they’ll be formally introduced. All of them are duly sworn police officers, and they will have arrest powers on BCS property.

Specific assignments have yet to be determined. Twelve of the offices will be assigned to schools throughout the district, and one will serve as chief supervisor. The Ed Tech Center is housed on Southside High School’s campus, so it doesn’t need its own officer. Neither does Beaufort County Early College High School, which is located on Beaufort County Community College’s campus.

Cheeseman said the officers are working with principals at each of the schools to determine what their hours will look like and where they’ll need to be throughout the day. The contract between BCS and Allied Universal requires the officers to be full-time employees.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office staffed the district’s SRO program until the end of the most recent fiscal year. Sheriff Ernie Coleman terminated the memorandum of understanding through which deputies provided those services. The school system chose to move forward with a third-party contractor.

The first day of school for all schools in the BCS system except the Early College is Aug. 23. The first day of class for Early College students is Aug. 4.