Beaufort County Schools first in NC to move forward with third-party police company as SROs

Education

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — School resource officers serve as the main security arm for elementary, middle and high schools. SROs help develop best practices when it comes to safety and make sure students and staff are protected from harm. 

There has been an ongoing conversation in Beaufort County regarding SRO’s since the sheriff is pulling deputies from this role come the end of June. Beaufort County’s Board of Education has chosen Allied Universal Security for school resource officers. It’s a national company that provides security systems and services. 

The three-year contract will place 12 school resource officers into schools plus a 13th officer who will serve as chief. Administrators say the cost for the three-year contract will be more than $3 million, which includes a vehicle component. 

This is the first time a North Carolina K-12 public school system is contracting with a third-party police company. The start date for the school resource officers is August 15. The new SROs will have about a week for on-campus training before students come back for classes.

In the coming weeks, county commissioners will work with the school system to figure out funding.

“A portion comes from a grant and the rest comes from county funds, and so we’re in the middle of budget deliberations right now,” Beaufort County Commissioner Randy Walker said. “We’re going to be providing the money for the rest of the SRO contract.”

Beaufort County Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman shared what stood out to him about Allied Universal Security.

“Their level of commitment to advertise, hire and select the most appropriate people they would believe would be a best fit for schools and to work with children of all age groups,” Cheeseman said. “Also, what stood out was the fact that their training really incorporates being more responsive than reactionary.”

The SROs will be employees of Allied Universal, not Beaufort County Schools. 

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