Catoosa Co. Commissioners motion funds for more SROs

Funds will place seven new SROs in county's public elementary schools

CATOOSA COUNTY, Georgia (WDEF) — There are 18 Catoosa County public school campuses, but only 11 school resource officers available to students and the facilites.

Sheriff Gary Sisk addressed this tonight to the local Board of Commissioners, who unanimously agreed that, after recent events, you can’t spend too much on safety.

Each Catoosa County public school will soon have a dedicated SRO to stand guard over the county’s kids.

In a 5-0 vote Monday evening, the county’s Board of Commissioners motioned to direct nearly $110,000 towards hiring seven new SROs for the upcoming school year.

“We want parents to be happy about their children going to school, we want children to feel safe,” said Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk. “We want them to come into an environment where they’re going to learn. That’s what this is all about is just to try to create a nice, safe and comfortable environment.”

Catoosa County Public Schools Superintendent Chance Nix, a former SRO, said that safety for students has been emphasized following the recent tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

However, the desire to place an SRO in each of the county’s 18 public schools was always “the next step.”

“When a kid has a good relationship with you, they’ll talk to you,” Nix said. “So, our SROs spend a lot of time working with kids to build those relationships. That’s invaluable.”

Nix says the money to make this possible was already available in the county budget thanks to federal ESSER funds.

Sisk says there have been no threats made to any county public schools so far this year.

With an SRO in each school moving forward, he hopes it stays that way.

“One of our safety protocols is a run/hide/survive drill where the teacher has to determine ‘is it better for me to run out of this building and get away from the danger?'” Sisk said. “Or ‘do I need to hide in this building because danger’s too close?’ Or ‘does it come down to I need to survive?’ Hopefully, that SRO’s going to be there taking care of business long before that needs to happen.”

Nix says the ESSER funds will pay for the schools’ new SROs for the next two years.

Sisk says that finding seven qualified personnel to fill the roles before school begins in early August will be challenging.

But for the county’s children, a “conscious effort” has to be and will be made.

Categories: Catoosa County, Featured, Local News