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Sheriff Requests Funding for 2nd SRO from Fluvanna Supervisors - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Sheriff Requests Funding for 2nd SRO from Fluvanna Supervisors

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FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -

The Fluvanna County Sheriff is asking supervisors for funding to hire a new school resource officer (SRO) to cover county campuses.

Right now, one deputy fills that role and responds to incidents county-wide from his base at the high school. Adding a second SRO is part of a bigger plan to improve security in Fluvanna schools.

Visitors to Fluvanna County schools will soon find front doors locked and a buzzer system to get inside.

“We would look at placing a direct entrance into the main office so people are funneled directly in here and those doors would be locked,” said Frank Leech, Fluvanna County School director of student services.

Leech is working with the Fluvanna County Sheriff's Office on the security upgrades.

“It's really a collaborative effort totally with this,” said Leech.

The Sheriff's Office already staffs a SRO at Fluvanna County High School, but that one deputy is responsible for safety and security on campuses across the county.

“Our SRO has been really good at dealing as quickly as he can to any incident we have,” said Leech.

Fluvanna Sheriff Eric Hess says the solo SRO is overwhelmed and dealing with an increase in bad student behavior. That's why he's asking county supervisors for funding to hire a second SRO to cover Fluvanna County Middle School and the elementary schools nearby.

“Have that person available the moment they're needed, not 15 or 20 minutes if it's responding from the high school,” said Hess.

Hess says SROs serve as a forceful security presence and friendly mentor to struggling children.

“The earlier you can have that type of interaction, the more likely you are to be successful,” said Hess.

Leech agrees that an additional SRO takes a preventative step to recognize safety issues. That is the number one concern before anything else - that the kids are safe and feel safe when they come to school.

If supervisors approve the sheriff's funding request, the new SRO could be in place by the start of this coming school year. The buzzer entry systems and redesigned front entrances should be finished or under construction by the fall.

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