ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. -- School resource officers are having to adjust how they operate this year due to the pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Resource Officers adjusting how they operate

  • More patrols in vehicles and outdoors

  • Still stopping people they don't recognize

Captain Scott Rowe with the Onslow County Sheriff's Office is in charge of managing the school resource officers.

“There was a little bit more that we had to put into it this year to get the guys ready to go do what we needed to do,” Rowe says.

Aside from taking the normal courses to prepare for the new year, the officers discussed ways to do their job while social distancing. They patrol more in their cars and from outside of the building, but they also remain vigilant of who enters the building and will approach people they don't recognize.

“Last year, if you come into the school with a mask on your face, the Deputy's were probably going to have a fit, the school board was going to have a fit, the teachers and the principals were going to have a fit, but this year it's just going to be the norm,” Rowe says.

These changes come in a year when the department added more SROs to the staff.

“So, we went from 11 school resource officers to 18 right now,” Rowe says.

Rowe says even though the "new norm" has changed some things, driving safety in school zones remains a priority.

“People don't understand the actual laws when it comes to the bus stops. When you can stop, when you have to stop,” Rowe explains.

Rowe and his staff will continue doing their jobs to ensure school safety. He wants parents to work with his officers and be understanding of new protocols.

“The biggest thing right now is the parents just have, they're just going to have to be patient,” Rowe adds.