Monday, September 28, 2020

Finding Southlake's School Resource Officers

Just weeks after the Southlake City Council approved a plan to place a School Resource Officer in every Carroll school, the selection process has begun.

“We were given a mission by the City Council and the families of Southlake,” said Assistant Police Chief James Brandon.  “Now it is time to find the officers who will not only add another layer of safety and security to our schools, but also help provide support and encouragement to Carroll students.”

The placement of SROs in the Carroll schools was the result of a recommendation by a safety and security task force headed up by Southlake Mayor John Terrell.  Other task force members include Carroll School Board President Read Ballew, SPARK representative Laura Hill, Southlake Police Chief Steve Mylett as well as state, and federal law enforcement officials.   The task force was created after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown Connecticut.

“The hiring criteria of the Southlake SROs is specific, any applicant must have an advanced TCLEOSE designation,” said Human Resource Director Stacey Black.   Black worked with Assistant Chief Brandon and Chief Mylett to create the job description and work scope.  Much of it was based on the task force’s recommendations and Brandon’s and Mylett’s years of police experience.

“It’s a different kind of police work that’s why it will take a special kind of officer to be successful in this role,” said Chief Mylett.  “They will have to be willing to forge relationships and make investments into the students’ lives and their wellbeing.  It’s about helping create an environment where kids can learn and thrive and feel safe doing it. That’s why we will only hire the best of best.”

Once the applicants are hired, Assistant Chief Brandon says that the officers will go through a week-long specialized training that will focus on the safety and security needs of the school environment.  Not long after that training is over, the officers will then help open up the 2013-2014 school year on August 26th.

The enhanced SRO program will be funded primarily through the Crime Control and Prevention District; a voter approved local sales tax allotment that funnels 1/2 cent of every sales tax dollar into a fund designated for safety and security initiatives.  The City’s general fund will also contribute towards the program’s costs.