Conyers Police recognized by Justice Department for SRO program

The Conyers Police School Resource Officers program and Officers Charlene Smith and Troy Quick have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as a grantee success story for the work they have done at Rockdale County High School. (Staff Photo: Larry Stanford)

CONYERS - The Conyers Police Department is the only law enforcement agency in the state of Georgia to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as a grantee success story for its School Resource Officer (SRO) program.

Conyers recently submitted the accomplishments of the SRO program to the Department of Justice, which then featured the department as a grantee success story. A total of 43 stories from 22 states were featured, and Conyers is the only story from Georgia.

Conyers Police first dedicated one full-time school resource officer in 1994 at Rockdale County High School. A second officer was added in 2016 after Conyers was awarded the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing (COPS) grant in 2015. The grant funded one additional full-time school resource officer for three years. With the addition of just one officer, the benefits were immediately evident.

“The last three years we have been grateful to use the COPS grant to enhance our SRO program,” said Chief Gene Wilson. “We have committed to keeping two SROs in our city schools beyond the depletion of these funds.”

In its grantee success story, Conyers Police explains how adding the second SRO has improved the situation at Rockdale County High School:

“Increasing the staff by just one officer has allowed for the distribution of workload and given more time for the officers to get to know the students. Also, we chose to select one female (Officer Charlene Smith) and one male (Officer Troy Quick) to have both genders represented at the schools. This has allowed for the students to be more comfortable with the officer of their choice when it comes to building a trusting relationship with the SRO.

“The new male SRO has been very active in sports programs at the high school and encourages physical fitness, team building, and other positive interactions rather than merely portraying a law enforcement officer in the school. It is almost as common to see him out of uniform as in his uniform interacting with the students therefore making him more approachable to some people. The female SRO has participated in the RARE Pearls mentoring program. RARE Pearls are high school girls who are at risk of not living up to their full potential because of various challenges.”

Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts thanked Conyers for the success of its SRO program.

“Rockdale County Public Schools works closely with local law enforcement to provide safe learning environments for all students and staff,” said Oatts. “We are fortunate to have two dedicated Resource Officers from Conyers Police Department at our largest high school. These officers build meaningful relationships with students and truly care about their safety and wellbeing.”

Visit cops.usdoj.gov/granteesuccessstories to read the full report and how officers Smith and Quick have impacted the relationship between the community and law enforcement through their assignment within Rockdale County Public Schools.

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Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.