KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. — Additional school safety measures are being added by the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office. Not every school in that county has a school resource officer, but a new plan is helping with that.
"I do everything from checking out library books to eating lunch with them and running around at PE with them," Deputy and SRO Scott Hathaway said.
From school resource officer to deputy, Hathaway is part of the core team with the Kershaw County Sheriff's Department.
"They know that we are there to do good and not always to punish," Hathaway said. "The teachers and the staff get a a sense of security and if I'm not right there I'm at least a phone call away within ten minutes."
Hathaway is usually at Baron DeKalb Elementary School, but when he is not there the department keeps him in that same area in case he is needed.
"There comes a problem when you get the real remote elementary schools that are in the middle of nowhere, so what we chose to do is take four of our core deputies, so while they are in those areas already they swing by the school and check out those areas," Sheriff Lee Boan said.
The core team, which focuses on community oriented residential engagement uses four residential deputies to double as SROs. Out of the 20 schools in the county, the middle and high schools have an SRO. Not all the elementary schools have an SRO.
"The only alternative is to have whatever deputy is at on patrol in that area and sometimes that could be 20 to 30 minutes away," Kershaw County School District Safety Coordinator Doug Bowling said.
"It actually provides an extra level of security for schools that wouldn't normally have an officer present," SRO Lt. Dexter Handy said.
This is something the community has noticed.
"From the citizens, not only parents, but citizens they all are very happy with the situation here," Bowling said. "Officers that are more closely assigned to a school is always better for safety and with 20 schools across the district it means a lot."
Their ultimate goal is to have an SRO in every school.