The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office’s Student Resource Officer (SRO) program has picked up its game to a new level for the 2016-2017 school year.
Not only has Sheriff J.B. Gardner added a full-time SRO at St. Paul School in Gator King, newcomer Curtis Bartlett joins the team as he will rotate between the county’s elementary schools. Additionally, Carroll County High School SRO Kevin Kemp and Carroll County Middle School SRO Mike Combs now have vehicles outfitted by Cana’s Copperhead Graphics to fit both school’s themes. Kemp’s vehicle, for instance, features the CCHS Cavalier logo on the hood, a large sword on the sides with the aptly titled phrase, “Protecting Our Future,” while the back is emblazoned with “Go Cavs” and “In God We Trust.”
“We came up with an idea based on some cars we saw in Norfolk. They took older cars and had them redone,” Sheriff Gardner said. “The car itself is about nine years old, but it is good for an SRO car and it doesn’t hurt anything. I think it speaks of the partnership between the school system and the Sheriff’s Office. It says right on the bottom of it what we are thinking, we are protecting our future because that is what it is all about. I thought it was a good idea to repurpose an old car.”
While Kemp’s SRO car was ready for the Aug. 10 start of schools in Carroll County, Combs’ vehicle was outfitted over the weekend in a similar theme.
“I am truly honored to represent the Sheriff’s Office and the Carroll County Cavaliers by driving this vehicle,” Kemp said.
Meanwhile, Curtis Bartlett joins the SRO team and will rotate between the county’s elementary schools. Having served as an auxiliary officer with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office for nearly four years, Bartlett also is fresh off nearly 10 deployments to Iraq where he worked Diplomatic Security for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq as a member of the Emergency Response Team. Full of passion and enthusiasm about the job and helping young kids, Bartlett will be a great addition to the team, Gardner said.
“We are excited to have Curtis on board. He brings a lot of experience,” Gardner said. “He’s just a heck of a good guy and he understands what his purpose with SRO is – to protect our babies. The kids love him already. They are hugging him and giving him high fives.”
As an auxiliary officer with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Bartlett worked shifts with the department without pay in between deployments to Iraq, showing his dedication and passion for the job. Now that he is on full-time as an SRO officer, he said he couldn’t be happier.
“I love kids. I am the oldest of five, and having no kids of my own I have a lot of love to give. I grew up with younger siblings so I have always loved kids either through church or high school, so to me it is the best of both worlds,” said Bartlett, a 2003 graduate of Galax High School.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on [email protected]