Beaufort Elementary, Middle schools push for school resource officer

BEAUFORT, N.C. (WNCT) – Beaufort Elementary and Beaufort Middle are working alongside the Beaufort Police Department to bring a full-time school resource officer to the schools.

“We used to have one some years ago and through budget issues and some other reorganization the position was lost,” said Paul Burdette, Beaufort chief of police.

The police department is hoping to bring at least one resource officer back.

“It’s much more of a proactive rather than a reactive approach by forming those positive bonds,” said Christy Propst, assistant principal at Beaufort Elementary School.

School officials say having an SRO will give the students a positive role model and will prevent incidents both inside and outside the classroom.

“Our children are our most precious resource,” said Burdette. “We absolutely understand that, and we want to do what we can to provide an environment where they’re safe and can learn.”

Having a full-time SRO will not only benefit both schools, it would also benefit the police department.

“We are taking them away from normal patrol duties now when they come over, which they are more than happy to do and help us but with an SRO position either at this school or the middle school,” said Propst. “We can work together and it not take them out of their normal roles.”

White Oak Elementary is the only primary school in the county with an SRO.

If approved by the board of commissioners, the police department would create its first SRO position.

The police department is proposing a $50,000 salary with an additional $35,000 one-time fee for equipment and a vehicle.

The board is expected to make a decision within the coming month.

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