Behind the Badge: New crop of Knox County SRO cadets train for new school year

Behind the Badge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Hard to believe, but the start of another school year in Knox County is less than a month away. Already, everywhere you look school supplies are being stocked on store shelves, school grounds are being prepped and safety precautions to keep your kids safe are in full swing.

This is especially evident at South Doyle High School where 24 future school School Resource Officers (SROs) are in training.

For nine and a half weeks this summer, Knox County School Resource Officer cadets have been receiving extensive training in the law, physical fitness and more.

“They’ll go through firearms week which is a rigorous course,” says Sergeant John Staser. “This is basically the same course you’re going to see if you go to an academy. We just don’t cover driving vehicles.”

As for its difficulty, the cadets we spoke with will tell you it is anything but a walk in the park.

“It’s structured, very structured,” says trainee and former marine Craig Cooper. “It’s not something you can just come in and skate your way through.”

As for the job itself, the trainees know that the key to their success is about building relationships with the youth they are currently preparing to protect.

“You’ve got to be able to connect with them,” says trainee Conner Timms.

Sentiments reiterated by fellow cadet Craig Cooper, “If you can’t do that, then you don’t need to be in the school.”

“We’re not there to put them in jail – be the bad guy,” says Sgt Staser. “We’re there to keep those children safe and to help them to enjoy school. So we just want to be that face that tells them, if you see a good guy with a badge on we’re there for you. We want to be your friend.”

The first day of classes for Knox County students and this new crop of SROs is August 5th.

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