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 is they gathered a group of kids and took them out on outings as far as fishing, hunting and those sorts of things. Those things go well beyond the classroom and well beyond the 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’re very positive influences in the school, they’re always present with us at break duties, lunch and morning. Just having a uniformed officer on campus puts a lot of people’s minds at ease, but it also builds good community relationships with our students as well as with our parents,” he added.
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and Loxley Police were also recognized this year during day one of the conferences. Bay Minette Police Chief Al Tolbert says it’s about staying proactive and letting students know they have someone to talk to they can trust.
“They’re more than just officers. They’re mentors, they’re somebody to look up to and they’re also somebody that they can go to if they have a problem,” said Chief Tolbert.
It’s a job these SROs take seriously. They provide a layer of security on campus, but if you ask Bay Minette Middle School Principal Zack Wigstrom SRO’s a lot of times can prevent problems before they escalate.
“A lot of our kids lack that structure and these officers provide that for a lot of our students and the kids will go to their offices and talk to them during the day,” he explained.
Now through Friday hundreds of school resource officers are gaining valuable information and training they’ll soon take back to their campuses in an effort to build strong relationships with students and faculty.