Aiken County hires four new school resource officers

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020
News 12 at 11 o'clock

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Aiken County School District hired four new school resource officers to work in middle schools starting Monday.

Every high school in the county already has a school resource officer, a member of law enforcement who works full-time in the school. Now, four more middle schools have one in the building too.

Dr. Tim Yarborough, director of operations in the school district, said it's important for students to get to know law enforcement at a young age.

"It allows kids to build a relationship at an early age with law enforcement officers," he said.

That's why the Aiken County School District just added more school resources officers to the staff.

"They're someone students, their parents, teachers, administrators can come to with concerns regarding what's happening in the school, or what's happening in their personal lives," Dr. Yarborough said.

The new officers are in Schofield, A. L. Corbett, New Ellenton and Leavelle McCampbell middle schools. Now, eight of the 11 middle schools in the district have these officers.

"When kids can build relationships with law enforcement officers at an early age, then they can develop that mindset that law enforcement is there to protect us," Dr. Yarborough said.

They also want resource officers to help teach students about certain subjects.

"Particularly on topics like probable cause, reasonable suspicion, search and seizure and kinds of areas where they have expertise," he said.

The district applied for funding back in the spring, and was awarded money for officers in late September. But the bill falls on more than just the district, and it's a team effort to make this possible.

"Aiken Department of Public Safety, the Aiken County Sheriff's Office," said Dr. Yarborough. "They are making a massive financial investment in placing these officers in the schools.

He said the goal is to get resource officers in the last three middle schools in the district, and then start getting them in elementary schools as well. He said they'll be applying for more funds when they become available.

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