Lee County, Opelika resource officers 'highly trained, go beyond call of duty'

(Source: WTVM)
(Source: WTVM)

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - A national conversation has sparked about school safety following the shooting in Parkland, Florida.

East Alabama authorities say they are willing to go beyond the call of duty to make sure students are safe in school.

The Opelika Police Department has three resource officers rotating throughout Opelika City Schools who go through extensive training to trade duties on the street for the hallways of a school.

“Just to become a basic DARE officer for us there’s a two-week training program," Opelika Police Captain Bobby Kilgore said.“We do training just about every month to continue education."

Some of the department's tactics can't be revealed, but police say they are ready for the unexpected.

"We will do additional firearms training… two of our officers are about to go through a patrol rifle course," Kilgore said.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office shared an article from CNN relating to school resource officers. The sheriff's office said the following in the post:

"The terms School Resource Officer and School Security Officer have been applied by many news outlets in a manner that would indicate they are the same thing. They are NOT. School Resource Officers have completed specific training beyond that of other law enforcement officers to prepare them for their mission of multiphasic interaction in a school environment. SROs have a unique skill set as a result of their specialized training. No disrespect to School Security Officers who provide a valuable service. Our SRO deputies know and love the students and schools they serve. If called upon, they would protect them up to and with their final breath."

One Opelika parent says she is pleased with the swift responses by authorities.

"It seems like there's always a swift response whether it be school administrators, the police department, or whoever," Opelika City Schools parent Tameka Lockhart said.

Both local authorities said in a time of crisis, resource officers are trained to go towards and address a threat when it's happening.

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