All district schools to get SROs

County will provide vehicles and uniforms

WINNSBORO – Ridgeway Police Chief Christopher Culp has been the subject of at least 14 complaints from Ridgeway residents and businesses in the past 12 months, according to documents obtained by The Voice. Those complaints recently almost cost him his job.

One of the complaints, though – that Culp doubles as the de facto school resource officer (SRO) at Geiger Elementary School although he is not certified to do so – will likely be mitigated through action by the Fairfield County School District.

Superintendent Dr. J.R. Green and Board Chairman William Frick both told The Voice this week that the District’s recently approved budget includes funding for additional SROs.

“We did budget for additional SROs to go into the elementary schools for the upcoming school year,” Frick said. “That was already in the budget that was approved at the last meeting, so we are looking forward to that.”

While the the District already provides SROs for the high school and middle schools. Green said the district started feeling the need to add SROs to the five elementary school after the Florida shooting incident.

“We decided it would be prudent to expand our SRO program to include the elementary schools as well,” Green said. “Obviously, we are committed to providing the safest environment we can as a district. This is just one added step to improving on the environment that we provide students.”

Frick went on to say that the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office is hiring for those positions.

The budget that passed includes $325,000 for five new school resource officers, which works out to about $65,000 per officer. There was no mention during budget deliberations, though, exactly where those officers would be assigned.

Green has previously said the funding covers the officers’ salaries and benefits, while Fairfield County would cover vehicle, equipment and training costs.

“Our plan is to have resource officers in place by the fall of this year,” Green said Tuesday. “We’re providing resource officers to our elementary schools. That’s our plan provided we have officers available.”