Thanks to a commitment of $120,820 from the Johnston County Board of County Commissioners, every middle school in the Johnston County Public Schools will have a school resource officer. The allotment was approved at the Monday meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.
The additional personnel, being provided by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, reflects the strong alliance among the commissioners, school district and sheriff’s office, according to Sheriff Steve Bizzell.
“As sheriff, I’m excited that we will be hiring seven additional deputy sheriffs (school resource officers) to be assigned to the middle schools in our county. Public safety is the No. 1 priority of government, and as we saw last night [March 4], the partnership between the Johnston County Board of Commissioners, Johnston County Board of Education, and the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office remains strong,” he said.
Currently, there are SROs at four of the district’s middle schools. JCPS applied for and received restricted grant funding through the Center for Safer Schools to help provide SROs at middle and elementary schools. The ultimate goal was to have an SRO in each middle school and for these middle school SROs to serve the elementary schools so that the high school SROs could remain all day at the high schools. The money approved from the commissioners will be allotted each year of the two-year grant.
This alliance serves to strengthens the district’s safety program, which provides a plan of protection for the district’s 37,000 students and 5,000 member staff, says Dr. Ross Renfrow, superintendent.
Both county leaders have expressed their gratitude to the Board of County Commissioners.
“We appreciate the partnership among the members of our board of education, county commissioners, and the sheriff’s department. As we grow and continue to focus on educating our students, their safety is just as critically important to their well-being,” said Dr. Renfrow.
Sheriff Bizzell added, “I would like to especially thank our Johnston County elected officials in the General Assembly who supported the grant funding initiative that has assisted in making this a reality.”
The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office has SRO’s in all schools.