Having security in elementary schools is important, but there is so much more to a school resource officer than patrolling campus. Chief Rick Wells recognizes this to the point of providing a full time Palmetto police officer, solely under his budget, to Palmetto Elementary School.
The SRO becomes a member of the school family, and most importantly, a mentor to the children. The relationship developed between a student and their SRO is vital not only to the security of the school, but in building community trust in the integrity of law enforcement.
When a young person experiences a SRO in the classroom, that child sees strength, stability, safety, honor, and a loyalty to a civic life unseen in most of their lives.
The SRO often fills a void in those areas and becomes a surrogate counselor of life skills for issues both in and out of school.
When the child trusts the guidance and stability of their SRO, it translates to a more enlightened and caring future citizen who respects the law. Crime is reduced, the community is safer, and true respect, not fear, of authority is cemented.
Security guards may provide a necessary quick fix to some of the dangers our schools face, but our SROs are true professionals dedicated not only to keeping the campus safe, but to all of these intricate facets of childhood development. Our children's future deserves our law enforcement SROs.