Teamwork creates SRO for two Priceville schoolsPublished 12:39pm Wednesday, April 3, 2013
A joint effort involving the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Priceville Town Council and Morgan County School system has resulted in the creation of a school resource officer position (SRO) for Priceville’s junior and senior high schools.
Deputy Jeff Burbanks is assuming the position this week after undergoing three months of training. In addition to other duties, he will teach the Drug Abuse Resistance (DARE) program.
Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said Burbanks’ salary was made possible by a $12,500 appropriation from the Priceville town council, matching a similar amount from her budget.
Mayor Melvin Duran presented the sheriff a check for that amount on Tuesday along with the keys to as used 2007 model patrol car for Burbank’s use.
“The car would’ve brought $8,000 to $10,000 had we advertised it for sale on govdeals.com,” Duran said.
“We began a discussion with Sheriff Franklin last August about hiring an SRO for our schools,” Duran pointed out, “because we were concerned about the safety of our children and grandchildren.
“We’re proud of our sheriff and the proactive approach she has taken to providing Morgan County Schools with additional security,” he added. “And we were pleased to partner with her office on this project.”
Franklin said she didn’t hesitate about creating a new SRO position when Priceville agreed to pay half of the salary.
“This falls right in line with us wanting to have a stronger law enforcement presence at all of our schools,” Franklin stated. “Since we don’t have the money in our budget to hire enough SROs for all of the schools, we were forced to look to the municipalities and the school system for their help,” she said. “”This is huge. It’s an example of law enforcement, schools and municipal government seeing a need and doing something about it.”
The sheriff’s department is already paying the full salaries of two SROs.
Deputy Robert Newman is assigned to Brewer High School and Deputy Dewayne Childers is at Danville High School.
Franklin said the assignments were made because those two schools are the most distant from municipal law enforcement agencies.
Morgan County School District Superintendent Bill Hopkins Jr. said he is working with Sheriff Franklin to come up with a way to have a law enforcement officer present at all 17 county schools.
In addition to those at Danville and Brewer and now at Priceville, volunteers are providing stepped up security at Falkville schools, according to Hopkins.
“We also have Trinity Police Department keeping watch at West Morgan schools,” he said, “and our Alternative School is under the watch of Decatur Police Department.”
“Our objective is to appropriate more money for school security in our budget next fiscal year and have an SRO in all of our schools by the end of next school year,” he added.