Beaufort County Commissioners vote to approve funding for sheriff’s school resource officers

BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -Beaufort County Sheriff Scott Hammonds stood before the Board of Commissioners during a special meeting Wednesday night, as he outlined his plan to have deputy resource officers in the school system yet again.

“It’s obvious that it’s a very passionate subject between the three components,” Hammonds said. “It’s very important to Beaufort County that we go through the hard work to get to this point tonight.”

Hammonds has been seeking approval from the commissioners to fund the 12 SRO positions but after waiting months for a commitment, Hammonds finally got a favorable backing.

However, it wasn’t unanimous as the board voted 4 to 3.

Frankie Waters, who’s chairman of the commissioners, was frustrated at those who had doubts.

“You’ve got to have people, but you’ve got to have confidence,” Waters said. “Whether it’s the superintendent, Allied Universal, or the sheriff’s office.”

Hammonds says his plan is to have one SRO in each school, to replace private security company Allied Universal, who are currently employed as resource officers for the schools.

Some commissioners worry that the schools will be left unprotected if Hammonds can’t hire all 12 SROS because Allied’s contract with the school system ends next summer.

Waters feels everyone has to trust Hammonds’ word.

“When I go to sleep at night, I can tell you I don’t feel good about Allied,” Waters said. “I feel good about the sheriff’s office.”

Hammonds will now begin hunting for the right resource officers for the 2024-2025 school year, thanks to the support from the commissioners.

“Letting the 2024 school year be the beginning of trust and hopefully our school system at large will improve,” Hammonds said.

Hammonds has to also present his firm plan to the Board of Education with the commissioners’ commitment by April 1st of next year.

It will take exactly $513, 200 of funding over the next six months to get the SROs in place for next school year.