It's been an intense summer for some North Alabama educators and the people who protect your children.
“The school year is upon us," Lt. Eric Fields with the Morgan County Sheriff's Office said. "We’re ready to see the buses start coming in and getting back into the schools.”
If anyone is ready for the start of a new school year, it’s the school resource officers of Morgan County. And they know they have an important job.
“All parents, there’s that one thing: you fear for your kids," Fields said. "I have kids. I’m a father and this is a personal thing for me.”
That’s why the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office has worked hard to find and hire the very best people for the position.
“People who are going to be looking for danger, walking the schools, checking the perimeters to make sure there’s no type of dangerous situations," Fields said.
And those officers went through some aggressive training this summer to prepare for the school year. They say, with a new year comes new fads, so they took classes on social media trends, new apps teens are using, and drug trends that can affect schools.
They also practiced eight different active-shooter scenarios, and focused on the importance of clearing the building and finding the shooter.
“That’s as close as you can get to a real gun fight. We put our guys through stressful situations. It’s painful," Fields said. "It makes it more realistic for the officers. It breaks the concept of getting tunnel vision. So, they’re watching and doing more.”
They did the training inside the schools so officers can be familiar with the layouts.
But they’re not the only ones. Anyone who might respond to an incident—patrol officers, narcotics officers, officers from other agencies, or even teachers—were invited to participate in some of the summer training.
It’s something Morgan County parents and grandparents are happy to hear.
“Warms my heart and makes me feel a lot better about them going to school," Beth Glaze said. "You can’t be there to protect them all the time, so there’s got to be somebody there, because I don’t want to lose them.”
“It’s my job now to protect those kids and that’s what I intend to do with my full being," Fields said. "I’m going to do everything in my power to train and be prepared, so our kids can be safe and other fathers don’t have to have that worry.”
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office tells WAAY 31 it plans to have ten school resource officers this school year. That’s the most the county has ever had.
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