Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh
Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office
Rutherford County Sheriff’s School Resource Officers have provided safety for Rutherford County Schools’ students for 30 years.
The National Association of School Resource Officers selected Wednesday, Feb. 15 as SRO Appreciation Day to recognize the contributions of SROs who protect students, teachers and staff.
SROs mentor students, provide safety and security inside the schools and teach law-related classes to elementary, middle and high school students in Rutherford County Schools.
Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh said Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office started the first SRO program in Tennessee 30 years ago with five SROs assigned to the five high schools. The County Commission approved placing SROs in all county schools 10 years ago.
Besides their roles of mentoring, providing safety and teaching, the SROs support the students by attending school events such as athletics, concerts and plays.
“SROs take their responsibilities seriously in protecting the students and even refer to the students as ‘my kids,’” Fitzhugh said. “The SROs patrol, counsel and teach during the day. They are invested in the students by coaching sports like archery and attending after-school activities.
“Our SROs are crucial for the safety of the students,” Fitzhugh said. “I appreciate them for their dedication to their roles.”
Executive Director Mo Canady said NASRO established the special day last year after receiving inquiries from school officials wanting to recognize SROs and their support.
“We encourage schools and communities to take time Feb. 15 to let their SROs know how much they appreciate the work these officers do to bridge gaps between law enforcement and youth and to keep schools safe,” Canady said.
The SRO assignment is unique within the law enforcement profession, Canady said. They are valuable and essential members of the education community who deserve unwavering respect and support from the public in the pursuit of keeping schools and students safe.