Bridgeport ISD, police discuss SRO

By Austin Jackson | Published Saturday, July 14, 2018
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Bridgeport ISD is hashing out plans with the city and the Bridgeport Police to hire an additional school resource officer.

Superintendent Brandon Peavey said during Monday’s board meeting that he expects to bring in an officer before the school year starts.

“It looks like we’ve worked out some of the details for the second SRO position,” Peavey said. “The city has to bring the final recommendation to the city council, but that’s something that we will have the ability to do.

“We think we should have additional folks on our campuses in the fall.”

Currently, Lee Snodgrass is Bridgeport ISD’s sole SRO. He covers four traditional campuses in addition to the Bridgeport Alternative Learning Center that services students from across Wise County.

Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford said Snodgrass has done well given the circumstances, but bringing in an additional officer will have a large impact on the community and its students. The last time Bridgeport ISD had two SRO’s was 2009.

“Adding a second SRO will put us back in a better position to cover those schools and campuses adequately and sufficiently,” Stanford said. “I think number one is the safety and security of our students and our staff. But it’s also very important for us to be able to build a partnership with these kiddos. They’re our future. If we do a good job with them [at school], that helps everyone across the board.”

Beyond law enforcement, Stanford said the SRO’s central duties include mentoring students and setting up programs on drug abuse and safety.

The police department doesn’t have a candidate in place yet, but Stanford said they have to possess unique qualities as an officer.

“First off, they have to enjoy working with the youth. That’s very important,” he said. “Somebody that understands the impact they can make and being a community-minded person that embraces what we want to do accomplish – building a partnership with our community. That’s our mission.”

Though the specifics are not set in stone, Stanford said the school district will generally cover 83 percent of the officer’s pay, with the police department paying the final two months of the SRO’s salary. The department will look to fill the position internally before advertising to outside candidates.

Peavey said the district is also working to create a “safe zone” on its campuses.

Peavey described the zone as a physical location where officers could have a base to complete paperwork and work with students in a mentoring capacity.

“It’s a designated place where they can hook up a laptop and be on our campuses and have time to interact with the kids,” Peavey said.

The city will put forth its final recommendation on approving the position at the city council meeting July 23.

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