The Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded grant funding for a new School Resource Officer (SRO). With this award, every school in Botetourt County will be staffed by an SRO.
“The safety of our children has been and will continue to be a top priority for the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Matt Ward. “From day one, the goal of my office has been to add additional School Resource Officers so that every school in Botetourt County is assigned an officer. We are thankful that the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors and County Administrator Gary Larrowe share our priorities, and we are grateful for their continued support in prioritizing school safety.”
With Governor Youngkin’s advocacy to increase SRO positions, grant funding was made available in June through the Criminal Justice Services Board. In September, the Sheriff’s Office applied for and secured a grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to provide for an additional SRO. The Criminal Justice Services Board is the policy Board of DCJS. This grant was contingent upon local Board approval.
During the October 25, 2022 Board of Supervisors Meeting, a new Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department School Resource Officer (SRO) position was approved. The position will be funded over five years with the grant award totaling $236,605.
“School safety is extremely important to Botetourt County,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Dr. Richard Bailey. “Part of a safe and secure school environment is to have SROs located at our schools and we are so happy this funding was available to enhance the current SRO program provided by the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office.”
School Resource Officers are responsible for helping prevent school-based crime as well as responding to criminal activity on school grounds. They also foster positive relationships with youth and help promote a positive school climate. The assignment of an SRO to an individual school not only enhances the security of the building but also creates a level of trust that students and parents should expect from law enforcement.
“We are grateful to the Board of Supervisors and the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office for their continued support of the students, staff, schools, and the Botetourt community,” said Botetourt County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Russ. “We honor the dedication of our resource officers and look forward to welcoming a new SRO to Breckinridge Elementary School! These devoted officers play a vital role in school safety and instruction.”
The grant requires the SRO be a state certified School Resource Officer and have two years of experience as a law enforcement officer. The Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office will begin recruiting for this important position immediately.
~ Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office