Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw
(Walhalla, SC)--------------------------------------With students who attend schools in the School District of Oconee County preparing to return to the classrooms on August 15th, the School Resource Officers assigned to those schools are preparing for the 2022-23 school year as well.
Besides providing security for those on campus, the SRO’s will also continue to build relationships with the students as well.
“With the recent events that have taken place in our country in regards to active shooters in general, and especially with the tragic incident that occurred recently in Uvalde, Texas, there has naturally been concern among parents in regards to school safety,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “With that in mind, the Sheriff’s Office is issuing this release today in order to share what we have been doing during the summer break to continue to train our School Resource Officer to prepare for any eventuality that may occur.”
Sheriff Crenshaw says that the SRO’s have continued to train to refine their skills in order to deal with active shooter situations, which included advanced active shooter training. Plus, all law enforcement agencies inside of Oconee County have worked with the School District of Oconee County so that all officers can now access any school in the School District should an emergency occur.
“During our yearly block training, our deputies at the Sheriff’s Office have been trained on active shooter scenario’s, which include single officer entry” says Sheriff Crenshaw. “If a deputy arrives first on the scene, that deputy is trained to enter that facility, engage the active shooter and eliminate the threat. Also, the active shooter training is uniform across the board so if any officer from any agency in the county is the first to respond, they would also follow those same protocols to go in and eliminate the threat as quickly as possible.”
School Crenshaw also points out that security is more than just preparing for an active shooter. SRO’s also investigate any incident in which criminal activity has been reported inside of the school and can file charges in those investigations, including referrals to the Department of Juvenile Justice for students who are charged and are under the age of 18.
Plus, additional School Resource Officers are going through training in the D.A.R.E. program. Last year, three of the SRO’s taught classes in the D.A.R.E. program to fifth graders in the elementary schools in the School District. With the additional officers being certified in the D.A.R.E. program, Sheriff Crenshaw says that every fifth grader in the School District will have the opportunity to participate in the D.A.R.E. classes.
“Along with providing security for the students, administration, employees and staff of each school in the School District, School Resource Officers are also there to build relationships with students and provide instruction on how to stay drug free as well as identifying the signs of bullying and sexual exploitation and how not to be a victim of both,” according to Sheriff Crenshaw. “The D.A.R.E. program provides much of this information for those fifth-grade students that continue our overall efforts to build relationships with our students.”
Sheriff Crenshaw also reminds parents and guardians that if they have any question regarding school security that they are welcome to contact him, or the School Resource Officer that are assigned to their child’s school. The following is a list of School Resource Officers and the schools in the School District to which they are assigned for the 2022-23 school year:
· Corporal Scott McMahan, Blue Ridge Elementary School
· Corporal David McNeil, Fair-Oak Elementary School
· Corporal Roy McKenzie, Hamilton Career Center
· Corporal Nicole Lecroy, James M. Brown Elementary School
· Corporal Robert Sparkman, Keowee Elementary School
· Corporal Michael Ticknor, Northside Elementary School
· Corporal Samantha Butts, Oconee Academy
· Corporal Jesus de Luna Soto, Orchard Park Elementary School
· Corporal Chasity James, Ravenel Elementary School
· Corporal Keith Littleton, Seneca High School
· Corporal Elijha Hayes, Seneca Middle School
· Corporal Tim Morris, Tamassee-Salem Elementary School
· Corporal Adam Poore, Walhalla Elementary School
· Lt. Robert Bennett (Walhalla Police Department), Walhalla Middle School
· Corporal Keith Brooks, Walhalla High School
· Corporal Ryan Overton, Westminster Elementary School
· Corporal Derek Pace, West-Oak Middle School
· Corporal Colby Mize, West-Oak High School