HUNTSVILLE Ala. — The Huntsville Police Department’s school resource officer unit is working to get students comfortable with their SROs and have some fun while they’re at it.
School safety is a topic at the forefront of the many minds, and school resource officers are often the ones with the responsibility of keeping schools and students safe.
“We’re going to be the first line of law enforcement that they’re going to come into contact with. We’re trying to build a rapport with them, and have a great time with them,” said Kristin Taylor, a School Resource Officer at Columbia High School.
In its 20th year, the SRO Youth Camp gets students acquainted with the school resource officers they will be seeing everyday next year.
“We want to get that close bond to where if a kid is being bullied in school they can come up to us and feel comfortable to come and talk to us,” said Taylor.
“At the beginning, we had a speaker that talked about not being a bully,” said Jasiel Joseph, a rising 4th Grader. “How to look out for myself, don’t talk to strangers, and always be a nice guy.”
“I think they trust me, and I trust them and I respect them a lot, and that’s who I would go to,” said Ka’Maiyah Rice, a rising 5th Grader.
Taylor said it’s important for students to trust their SROs, especially nowadays when the dangers of school shootings are ever present.
“We’re fully trained and ready to go if something was. Cause we love our kids and we want to protect them. And we want the parents to feel secure that ‘hey, I’m sending my kids to school and they’re safe,” said Taylor.
While SROs are in schools to protect students, that protection comes in many forms. They teach classes, monitor the halls, and are there if students just need to talk.
“It’s very important to get to know your kids and let them be comfortable with you, so we can so we know what’s going on in our schools,” said Taylor.
During the five-day camp the campers and the SRO’s will go to the water park, they’ll go rollerblading, bowling, and they’ll end their week with a beach party.
The youth summer camp was started back in 1998, as a way to reward high performing Huntsville City Schools students. The camp participants were elementary school students, who were nominated by their school principals and counselors.