School Resource Officers talk about building trust with the Battle High School community


School Resource Officers have returned to some Columbia high schools for just over a month now, after the city approved a contract with Columbia Police and Columbia Public Schools.

The Columbia City Council approved the SRO contract with the Columbia Police Department and Columbia Public Schools on March 7. The next day, two officers, Chris Williams and Corey Dawkins were sent to work at Battle High School.

Williams said it was important to build trust with students and the community.

“There’s a lot of mistrust in the police, which is understandable, and I think that’s another reason to be here to break those bridges and rebuild trust between these kids, their parents, and the community,” he said. said Williams.

This isn’t the first time Williams has been an SRO. Before the pandemic, he spent time working as an SRO at every college in Columbia.

“Some of them, we’ve known them since middle school and then all the way through high school. My partner and I have had situations where students say we’re like father figures, so hearing that is really heartwarming,” said Williams.

Some community members have refused to reinstate the officers in the schools. Some have expressed concern that school officials are contributing to the “school-to-jail pipeline” at city council and school board meetings.

In the agreement, there are supposed to be four SROs split between three CPS high schools. The district and the police department are working to bring in the other two SROs.

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