Dothan schools now have more protection

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- After Dothan City School's restructuring the city is now home to the biggest junior high school and 3rd largest high school in the state and that also means changes in security.

In addition to school resource officers (SROs), Dothan City Schools now have school protection officers (SPOs).

And DPD’s Lieutenant Eggelston explains that there is a big difference between the two,

We're fortunate that we haven't been able to see anything that would be cause for an alarm,” says Eggelston.

If anything does happen at a school Dothan Police are ready to respond.

This year Dothan High School and Dothan Prep Academy will both have three SROs.

“The three officers are mouthpieces for the department. I mean if there's ever a need, they have a radio they can call us at any given time,” says Eggelston.

There are also five SPOs scattered among schools.

“There are certain schools that won't have them because we're still trying to get the numbers up for school protection officers. Once we have enough to staff every school that's the intention,” says Eggelston.

The SPOs patrol inside and work the outside perimeter.

“They are not there to be a mentor. They're not there to address the everyday problem that a school resource officer would have as far as a parent having an issue or a crime being committed at the school,” says Eggelston.

The SROs come with years of experience.

“These are retired officers or officers that may have been close to their retirement and decided that they wanted to go ahead and transition into something else, but wanted to still be in a law enforcement capacity,” says Eggelston.

Lieutenant Eggleston says that DCS students have been making their jobs easy.

“Between the times I have been able to go around the preparatory school as well as the high school, I’ve seen nothing but kids become acclimated with the new system they're in, and they seem to be doing well while they're doing it,” says Eggelston.

School resource and protection officers completed scenario-based training over the summer.

That plus SROs being familiar with school campuses makes it easier to formulate plans to respond to problems.
DPD also says parents can be a big help by instilling positivity about going to school.

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