By Jill Penley
While the vast majority of schools are secure, and students are relatively safe while there, the presence of a uniformed officer certainly enhances the protection.
The Johnson County Board of Education values the district’s school resource officers, or SROs, which are members of the law enforcement community who teach, counsel, and protect schools, students, faculty and staff.
“We appreciate of the school board and the county commission for funding us an additional SRO for our school system,” said Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools, who suggests when SROs are integrated into the school system, the benefits go beyond reduced violence in schools. Many officers build relationships with students while serving teachers, and administrators to help solve problems.
After 10 years of serving as the SRO on the high school campus, Deputy SRO Mark Gladden is serving that position at the district’s elementary schools and Deputy SRO Carl Hatley was recently moved to the high school/middle school campus. Hatley, who is also an advanced emergency medical technician (AEMT) with Johnson County Emergency Rescue Squad Inc., looks forward to this new adventure.
Johnson County High School Principal Lisa Throop is glad to have an officer on campus. “We have had an SRO at JCHS all 11 years that I have been here,” said Throop, “and we are very fortunate to have one.”