School resource officers talk about perception, role in schools

Published: Dec. 1, 2015 at 11:50 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2015 at 11:50 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - As some reflect on recent events involving law enforcement, specifically the incident in South Carolina with the school resource officer slamming a girl out of her desk, many people have had a different perception of local officers.

Officers in the Cape Fear region still feel they are still looked at in a positive light.

"Kids in Elementary school, for the most part, still look up to law enforcement," school resource officer Michael Fields said.

Officers took time to clear the air during the GradNation Community Summit held at UNCW Tuesday. They sat on a panel to discuss their roles in schools and how they help children, in addition to serving as an authority figure.

"We help them get their education and to move on and be happy and prosper," Deputy Janice Covil said.

Judge J.H. Corpening, who has been a pivotal contributor to the InterAgency agreement between schools and law enforcement, said there is a role that law enforcement plays in the school system that they sign up for when they become school resource officers.

"To be friends, advisors and relationship builders with our students - trying to affect more positive outcomes. I think the more positive that relationship can be, the more likely it is we have good outcomes with our kids," Corpening explained.

School resource officers truly enjoy developing relationships with students and their families that last a lifetime.

"I was there for several, actually all, the Hanover High School graduation, but I was there to shake each and everyone of the classmates hands, it's a big deal to me," SRO Efrain Granda said.

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