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BOC approves agreement for more school resource officers
South Forsyth High School student Drew Schmidt chats with school resource officer Steve Honn Wednesday between classes. Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has expanded it SRO unit from seven to 14 deputies. - photo by Jim Dean

Some schools in Forsyth County will soon see an increase in safety for students.

At a work session on Tuesday, Forsyth County Commissioners unanimously approved a $633,000 budget amendment for 11 new school resource officer positions for local schools.

Sheriff Ron Freeman said at a previous Forsyth County School Safety Task Force meeting, with officials with Forsyth County Schools, recommended adding a second school resource officer to certain schools as well as supervisor positions “because that unit is getting so big.”

Freeman said the school system had also agreed to increase funding over previous years.

“I negotiated with the school system,” Freeman said. “They were paying a fairly small portion. We were paying a fairly large portion from the county. I know some of you are aware of that. They’ve agreed to up their funding to the school resource officer program of $1.5 million per year.”

Freeman said the school system had already paid part of that agreement and the $633,000 was the difference.

“They want to go ahead and make a payment this year to help us fund for those,” Freeman said.

In June, the Forsyth County Board of Education approved funding for a higher number of school resources officers in their annual budget.

Freeman said the funding for school resource officers would be done through an updated intergovernmental agreement between the county and school system.

According to a copy of the agreement, the intent is to have two school resource officers and two supervisors for each district and “at least one SRO will be assigned to each high school and each middle-elementary school joint campus in Forsyth County.”

The agreement also states the school resource officers will provide classroom instruction on law enforcement matters, build positive relationships with students, protect people and property on the school, gather information about illegal activity at the school and enforce state laws. 

The $633,000 will go toward salaries, travel, training and education, operating supplies, uniforms, vehicles and miscellaneous operating expenditures.