CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Department of Education recently granted Horry County Schools funds for two additional school resource officers.
Currently, all Horry County schools are equipped with either SROs or armed security guards. Schools in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Aynor and Loris have SROs, who are employed with different law enforcement departments.
Lisa Bourcier, spokesperson for the Horry County School District says SROs and armed security play an important role in helping students and teachers feel safe.
“You can put in all the infrastructure, all the locks, all the provisions, but if they don’t feel welcomed every morning and feel safe, students have a hard time learning, and so we want it to be more like a welcoming center for children to come and learn and that comes with having that trusted adult figure of a security officer or a law enforcement officer in the schools,” Bourcier said.
The state funding will cover the salaries and benefits for the SROs. The law enforcement officers will be replace the armed security guards in some Horry County schools, however, it could be the police department’s decision where the new SROs will go, depending on which department has the capacity to take on the new positions.
“They do have to be law enforcement officers, so we will be working with our municipalities to see exactly how and who will be receiving those two positions,” Bourcier said.
Bourcier says while SROs and armed security share the same role, there are some perks to having law enforcement officers inside schools.
“There is the added benefit to having the department based as far as a school resource officer because they do have the additional support and resources there. You tend to see a little more community engagement after hours and on weekends with an agency.”
The state funding will be reoccurring each year, and there may be opportunities for additional funding.
While the funds will cover the salaries and benefits for the two new SROs, the police department will be responsible for covering equipment costs associated with the position.