School improvements will not be the only change when it comes to the safety of students -- school resource officers have also been preparing for the new year.
Hallways will soon be filled with kids coming back to school to learn, and parents want to know they're safe. "I just really enjoy school safety and working with kids," says school resource officer Lt. Blaine Tate.
Tate is an officer at the Washington County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office and is also a school resource officer. "I started being a resource officer in 1998. I was the only officer in Washington County. I had 17 schools," adds Tate.
Now the county has eight school resource officers, including a D.A.R.E. officer. "They're also certified school resource officers who go through state training as a resource officer. We have inservices and updates yearly," says Tate.
Tate tells us he became a resource officer when his daughter was in school because he knew how important safety was for the students and to the parents.
We learned the officers aren't just there for emergencies but for everyday needs, whether a kid is being bullied or the principal needs help with discipline. "We're also there to assist the principal in any situations that come up during the day. We're an extra resource for the school," adds Tate.
School resource officers won’t be the only people walking up and down the hallways; Sheriff Newman plans to use the entire department to make stops by every school. "It's not on a schedule. It's basically random during the day [to provide] extra security and an extra presence," says Tate.
Tate says now they are working with all the schools in Washington County, Virginia to have an active shooter response plan in place in case of an emergency.