Catawba County Sheriff Don Brown says his school resource officers (SROs) are ready to start another school year.
“The first week of school is kind of hectic, but we’re looking for that to be as smooth as possible,” Brown said. “Safety and security of our children is obviously the priority.”
Brown explained that the SRO division underwent a small overhaul this summer. “The supervisor over that division interviewed all the SROs, got their feelings on where they were, if they wanted to be moved and things like that,” he said.
School staff and administration were also surveyed. Brown said everyone was satisfied with where they were, and that most SROs will stay at the schools they served last year.
There are a few exceptions. After Maiden Police Department announced earlier this summer that its officers will be taking over the SRO positions for Maiden High and Middle schools, that freed up two Catawba County SROs.
Brown said Catawba County Sheriff's Deputy Amber Morris will be moved to Jacobs Fork Middle School. Deputy Joyce Cline, who previously served Jacobs Fork Middle, will be moved to focus on all Catawba County Schools system elementary schools.
“We have a lot of them (elementary schools), but I see her developing programs for all of those schools,” Brown said of Cline. There are 16 elementary schools in the Catawba County School system.
He added that he wants to see more relationships developed with students, school staff and parents at the elementary level. “She (Cline) will be spread very thin, but this is just a start,” Brown said. “We’re going to see how this works, and we’ll be making improvements as we go along.”
Brown wants to see more SROs in elementary schools. “This is an evaluation period,” he continued. “We’re going to see how it goes, and if it goes well then we’ll see what we can do to enhance it with more programs or personnel.”
Catawba County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Graham, who previously served Maiden High School, will serve as a K9 officer dedicated to the school system.
“He (Graham) will be going to the high schools and middle schools for searches and things like that. I envision him going to the elementary schools for presentations as well,” Brown said.
Here is a list of SROs and what schools they will be serving for the 2019/20 school year:
Catawba County Schools
Bandys High School — Deputy Marcus Miller, Catawba County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO)
Bunker Hill High School — Deputy Josh Robertson, CCSO
Fred T. Foard High School — Deputy Jody Grindstaff, CCSO
Maiden High School — Officer David Lee, Maiden Police Department (MPD)
St. Stephens High School — Deputy Dale Lail, CCSO
Catawba Rosenwald Education Center — Deputy Chad Eades, CCSO
H.M. Arndt Middle School — Deputy Trent Davis, CCSO
Jacobs Fork Middle School —Deputy Amber Morris, CCSO
Maiden Middle School — Officer Mark Baker, MPD
Mill Creek Middle School — Deputy David Fox, CCSO
Riverbend Middle School — Cpl. Victor Morales, CCSO
Catawba Valley Community College — Deputies Chris Mills, Shawn Goodnight and Bryon Hollar, CCSO
Hickory Public Schools
Hickory High School — Officer Bryson Grier, Hickory Police Department (HPD)
Hickory Career and Arts Magnet School — Officer Anthony Callicutt, HPD
Northview Middle School — Officer Josh Null, HPD
Grandview Middle School — Officer Jamon Griffin, HPD
Jenkins Elementary School — Officer Josh Null, HPD
Viewmont Elementary School — Officer Josh Null, HPD
Longview Elementary School — Officer Jamon Griffin, HPD
Oakwood Elementary School — Officer Jamon Griffin, HPD
Newton-Conover High School — Mst. John Stone, Newton Police Department
Newton-Conover Middle School — Officer Danny Baker, Conover Police Department
Shuford Elementary School — Officer Shannon Grindstaff, Conover Police Department (CPD)
Conover School — Officer Shannon Grindstaff, CPD
Emily Willis is a general assignment reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.