City leaders talk School Resource Officers after deadly Uvalde shooting

School Resource Officers in Huntsville Schools.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 5:30 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Keeping children safe is top of mind for Huntsville city leaders. Just three weeks ago, 19 children and two teachers were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

On June 14, the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council (HPCAC) met to talk about school resource officers (SROs).

“You have to let these young people know that you care. It’s a necessary part to influence change you have to have these relationships,” said Huntsville Police Officer Jonathan Savage. He spent several years building trust with students while walking the halls of Huntsville City Schools as an SRO.

He stressed the importance of SROs especially as we’re seeing more school shootings in the country.

“Every school has a safety officer and they are required by the district to conduct various safety trainings,” said Officer Savage Some of those are weather drills, some of those are bomb threats, and some of those are intruder drills. They have those in rotation. They have so many of those a year they have to do”

Claudia Mesnil is one teacher that’s glad SROs are in school but she wants to see intruder training ramped up. “I do feel like I wish I had better communication with them about what to do in case of a mass shooting now. We have had trainings but in lite of recent occurrences I think that they need to circle back to educators, especially since many have left and there are new educators in the classrooms.”

Right now not every Huntsville Public School has an SRO for the full day. Savage says they have a two-tiered program where officers split their time between schools.

“There is not an SRO for every public school but there is SRO coverage for every public school. So for instance when I was at Chapman I also covered MLK. There is a two-tiered approach that the Huntsville city system has. They have on-site security officers for every school that are in direct communication with officers with the Huntsville Police Department”

The next HPCAC meeting will be on July 12. They will focus on ‘crime organizations and drugs.’

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