City of Lenoir School Resource Officers (SROs) have spent the past several weeks getting ready for the new school year. Community Resource Officer Scott Kanupp said the schools in the city are well prepared.
The City of Lenoir Police Department and Caldwell County Schools partner to provide three full-time SROs in Lenoir. Officer Matt Spears serves as the SRO for Hibriten High School. Officer Mitchell Foust is the SRO for William Lenoir Middle School. Officer Chris Maher serves as SRO at Horizons Elementary School.
Lenoir Police Chief Brent Phelps said he is thankful to have such a great community partner.
“We value our partnership with the Caldwell County School System and I’m glad we can work together to provide SROs for our schools,” Chief Phelps said. “We all want our students, our children, to be as safe as possible, and having SROs helps us achieve that goal. We truly appreciate their support.”
Officer Kanupp serves as a liaison for the other elementary schools in the city. Kanupp works with staff at West Lenoir, Valmead, Whitnel, Lower Creek, and Davenport A+. He also teaches DARE.
Prior to the new year, Kanupp said he and the other SROs perform a security survey at each school and talk with teachers about their concerns. Lenoir SROs have been performing these surveys for many years.
“Every school is different, so it’s important to develop a plan that meets the needs for security and safety at each school,” Kanupp said. “We do a survey with staff and review arrival and departure areas. We discuss safety protocols. We make sure teachers and staff have a check-in policy and know the security plan.”
It’s important to review the plans every year. New teachers come to new schools. Classes may have moved to new rooms. A school may get a new SRO.
Kanupp visited Davenport A+ Principal Jessica Anthony earlier this month to review their plan to talk with faculty.
“I’ve met with Officer Kanupp a couple of times about different safety procedures,” Anthony said. “We’ve done a safety walk around the building, and we spoke with staff yesterday and went over the procedures.”
Like other schools in the City, Anthony said Davenport A+ is very secure and very safe for students and teachers.
“Our custodians are wonderful about maintaining security and our teachers are well trained,” she said. “Chief Phelps, Officer Kanupp and Lt. Mills have come in to meet with me on multiple occasions to answer my questions.”
In addition to reviewing safety plans and working with staff, the City's SROs attended training over the summer.
“We attended an SRO conference and a DARE conference earlier this year,” Kanupp said. “Those sessions help keep us informed about current trends and teen culture. We also get more training on interacting with students and providing positive reinforcement.”
Once school starts, the City’s SROs will make sure students and staff are following their safety plans the rest of the year. SROs will help teachers conduct safety drills, fire drills, and lock down drills.
“Obviously, we hope and pray we never have any incidents, but we want to be ready if something does happen,” Kanupp said. “We’ve implemented a lot of good policies and procedures based on these yearly reviews. Overall, I think we are well prepared.”
Kanupp said he wanted to remind parents that they should never be afraid to report a concern, not matter how small it may seem at the time.
“I encourage parents to speak up if they are worried or have a bad feeling about something,” Kanupp said. “No issue is too small. Parents should always, always bring their concerns to school staff and officers.”
Davenport A+ Principal Jessica Anthony discusses the schools entryway with Lenoir Police Department Community Resource Officer Scott Kanupp.
Anthony and Officer Scott Kanupp discuss the school safety plan.
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