By Jeff Thompson
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers patrol all 90 Cumberland County school campuses, including those located in Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Spring Lake and Stedman. The sheriff’s office was given the countywide responsibility 30 years ago, when then-Fayetteville Police Chief Ron Hansen suggested school duty was better suited for the sheriff’s office because schools are governed and operated by county government.
The school system pays the sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement coverage. Middle schools and high schools have permanently assigned deputies. Elementary schools are patrolled on a regular basis but do not have assigned officers.
SROs are responsible for enforcing the law and more. Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis Wright’s office did not respond to inquiries about the program. Ordinarily, student resource officers provide security during school hours and after-hours special events on campus, such as athletic events, dances and assemblies.
SROs serve as liaisons between Cumberland County Schools and the sheriff’s office. They assist school administrators in emergency crisis planning and security matters. They work to prevent juvenile delinquency through close contact and positive relationships with students.
They also develop crime prevention programs and conduct security inspections to deter criminal or delinquent activities.