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Sheffield City Schools now have resource officers in every school.
A state law change takes retired police officers with 25 years experience in good standing out of retirement and puts them in Sheffield's two elementary schools without having to go through re-certification.
Officer Howell is the new school resource officer at W.A. Threadgill Primary School, and Officer Hugley is at L.E. Wilson Elementary School.
"I'm enjoying it. I love my job. I like being here, and it's very fulfilling," said Officer Hugley.
Both Hugley and Howell have been on the job for several weeks. Stoney Hugley retired from the Colbert County Sheriff's Office back in March. He said he was enjoying retirement when the Sheffield police chief called him and asked if he wanted to come on board as a school resource officer.
"I called him back and told him, 'Yeah, I'd be glad to,' and I just fell back into the swing of things," said Hugley.
Under a new state law change, police departments can now hire retired police officers in good standing without having to do any re-certification, but they do have to go through an active shooter training course. That new law helped both elementary schools get added protection with the two new school resource officers.
"As a parent, when I dropped them off, I wanted them to be safe and I never had to worry about that, because their school had a full time SRO. So, I know when our parents drop their kids off, they feel the same way, so I can relate as a parent," said the L.E. Wilson Elementary School principal, Heather Collum.
Collum said having Officer Hugley on campus gives her peace of mind.
"He's a professional. I'm a professional. We've collaborated on those things, so I know that if something were to happen, he's right here with me and we wouldn't have a wait time," said Collum.
Officer Hugley and Officer Howell said protecting students is their number one priority, but they use this opportunity to make those friendships too.
"I try to not be their mom or dad, but be a role model for them and be respectful, and it just feels like you're doing a good work," said Hugley.
Both Hugley and Howell are at their schools anytime they're in session to protect students and staff. The officers are paid $15 an hour and that cost is split between the school system and police department.
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