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October 23, 2014

School resource officers to be more visible in St. Clair

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Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014 9:52 pm | Updated: 10:09 pm, Mon Aug 18, 2014.

School resource officers in St. Clair County are going to be more visible in all the schools throughout the county in the days, weeks and months to come.

Although a grant that initiated the program has run out, St. Clair County Assistant Sheriff Billy Murray said the St. Clair County Commission has incurred the cost of SRO officers Matt Coupland and Bob Talley.

“Instead of being at the Odenville schools all the time, they will be more visible in all the schools across the county,” Murray said.

Last week, Coupland was at Ragland High School visiting classrooms with Principal Roy Bliss.

“Any problems Mr. Bliss has, he will call me,” Coupland said. “Sheriff Terry Surles and Assistant Sheriff Billy Murray are behind this and want us in all the schools in the county. Our ultimate goal is for every school to have their own deputy.”

Bliss said there is nothing more important than keeping students safe.

“We want to keep our kids safe,” Bliss said. “That way, they can concentrate on getting a good education.”

Coupland said they are there for the students.

“If you need anything, you can come to me,” Coupland said as he talked to 11th grade students in coach Andy Eden’s class. “If you have some problems going on at home, I can help you with that. Anything that is going on in your life, the sheriff’s department is here to help you. We are here also for the administrators, faculty and staff. Whatever needs to be done, we want to make sure it gets done.”

Coupland said bullying is a hot topic across the country.

“The way to deal with bullying is for you students to let us know when it’s going on,” Coupland said. “The only way it continues to happen is if you don’t tell somebody about it. Once you tell us, we can help you stop it. We can do it the right way, but someone has to have the courage to come forward and say it is happening to someone you know or happening to you.”

Moody schools have their own SROs through the Moody Police Department.

Contact Gary Hanner at ghanner@thestclairtimes.com.

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