ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For school resource officers, it's a different ballgame than being on patrol.
They have to get special training to deal with the unique issues on a school campus.
10News Reporter Garin Flowers walked the halls of Gibbs High school with two officers and asked what’s required to protect our kids.
“The day in the life of an SRO. Basically, our main concern is to keep the safety of the school, but also as well building relationships with the students,” said Grace Albritton, the sole SRO at Gibbs.
Garin: Do you think we need more SROs on campus?
“It doesn’t hurt. Certain schools are a lot more busier than others. There are more students at certain high schools or middle schools, so there will tend to be a lot more issues. Having an extra officer on campus, it’s always a positive,” said Dimitri Gerrier, a roaming SRO for the St. Petersburg Police Department.
Garin: Through your training, if something were to happen on this campus, what would you do? Would you jump in?
Grace: “The immediate action is to take action. To address that immediate threat. That’s what we’re trained to do…if something like that happens we have to address the threat immediately and call for backup.”
Garin: What impact does it have on you when you see what happens like what happened in Parkland?
Grace: “You can never foresee something like that happening on school grounds. But, it happens. That’s a you know, a reality.”
Dimitri: “Situations like that, you take your training seriously. You practice, you prepare, you run scenarios in your mind and you hope it doesn’t happen, but you’re prepared just in case it does occur.”
Garin: what do the students mean to you?
Grace: “The kids, I mean, I tell all the kids I feel like they’re my kids. I have a special rapport with them one, because I grew up in the neighborhood and two, this is my school, I graduated from Gibbs High School.”
Officer Albritton also believes arming teachers would pose a problem on campus.
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