Alabama School Resource Officers Recognized at Annual Conference in Orange Beach
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) – School resource officers from across Alabama are in Orange Beach this week for their annual training conference. They play a huge role on campus, but it’s also what they do off campus that makes a difference.
“One of the things they did last summer and throughout the year was they rounded up a group of kids and took them on fishing trips, hunting trips and this kind of things. These things go way beyond the classroom and way beyond school hours,” said Baldwin County High School Principal Craig Smith.
The Alabama Association of School Resource Officers honored 4 Bay Minette officers with this year’s team award Monday morning.
“They are very positive influences at school, they are always with us during breaks, lunch and in the morning. Just having a uniformed officer on campus puts a lot of people at ease, but it also creates good community relationships with our students as well as our parents,” he added.
The Baldwin County Sheriff‘s Office and Loxley Police were also recognized this year on the first day of conferences. Bay Minette Police Chief Al Tolbert says it’s about staying proactive and letting students know they have someone to talk to who they can trust.
“They are more than just officers. They are mentors, someone to look up to and also someone to go to if there is a problem,” said Chief Tolbert.
It’s a job that these SROs take seriously. They provide a layer of security on campus, but if you ask Bay Minette High School Principal Zack Wigstrom, SROs can often prevent problems before they escalate.
“A lot of our kids don’t have that structure and these agents anticipate that a lot of our students and the kids will go to their offices and talk to them during the day,” he explained.
Through Friday, hundreds of school resource officers are gaining valuable information and training that they will soon bring back to their campuses in an effort to build strong relationships with students and faculty.