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School Resource Officer at Cottageville Elementary School

Cottageville leaders are petitioning the Colleton County School District to let them use a town police officer as an official School Resource Officer (SRO) at Cottageville Elementary School.
According to Cottageville Mayor, Tim Grimsley, town leaders have asked the district, for nearly two months, to let a town police officer be the official SRO in the local school. As of Tuesday’s press deadline, Cottageville has yet to receive permission from the district, but Grimsley says he is hopeful that existing conversations between him and Superintendent, Dr. Franklin Foster, will continue.
Grimsley says it makes sense to have the town supply the local elementary school with its SRO. He cites a faster response time in the case of an emergency and says the towns police department is already involved in the school.
“We also already have an officer on staff who is trained as an SRO, so he will just be assigned to that school and then work for the department during the summer or school breaks,” he said.
Should the town’s request be approved, the details are still fuzzy, as to whom will pay for what. Grimsley says the town’s council and administration is willing to help find what they need to, adding that the town is already paying for the salary of their officer who is SRO-certified.
Currently, the school district and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office share the costs of the district-wide SRO program. The sheriff’s office uses its officers who are assigned to the schools. As of this coming school year, one SRO with the sheriff’s office is assigned to cover all elementary schools in the district.
“We want to build good relationships with our officers and the kids at the school,” said Grimsley. “We already have our officers working with the kids at our school for fundraisers, reading events and community events. This just makes sense for us to have our own SRO there.”
Cottageville Police Chief Jeffrey Cook has been a supporter of this idea, says Grimsley.
According to Cook, his department is already responding to “some” calls for assistance to CES during previous school years, saying custody disputes are usually the most common problem. Cook says he and his officers want children at the school to have an existing relationship with their officers so they can be comfortable with law enforcement. “We want kids to know who we are and know we are here to help. That’s the reason we want to have an SRO in our local school,” he said.

Heather Walters (1151 Posts)