School Resource Officers Train For New School Year

A new compact metal detector is one of the latest tools that school resource officers rely on. Instead of giving off a loud tone, it vibrates over metal objects. This new device allows officers to zone-in on a possible weapon. Gulfport Resource Officers learned how to use the metal detector during a training session at the Air National Guard Base.

The officers also learned about new laws that are going into effect and the changes in the courses they will teach. Resource Officer-In-Charge Alfred Sexton says the program is about prevention. As officers talk to the students about gang resistance and education, the DARE program, and the Project Alert program, the officers will have the most up-to-date tools and curriculum to deliver to young people.

New and veteran resource officers say the training prepares them for the unexpected. Michael Shaw says recently, schools are becoming more violent, and there's a lot of new territory they're stepping on. He says it's good to have the prosecutors and judges explain the laws and interpret some of the issues that are coming up nowadays.

John Zumwalt says officers have to be careful and let the students know early on that if they see a weapon in school, to let officers know and let them handle the problem. As students begin their new school year on August 6th, the officers are now more prepared to help those students learn in a safe environment.

The Gulfport Police Department is currently applying for a "Cops In Schools" federal grant to hire seven more resource officers.