LMS getting new SRO

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The new contract that places a School Resource Officer at Lewisburg Middle School was signed Tuesday in the courthouse.

"I'm proud to be a part of the SRO program," Sheriff Norman Dalton said. "I think Ben Fender will do a good job at LMS."

Judge Steve Bowden agreed.

"We've got to have a Resource Officer at these middle and high schools," said Bowden, who found juvenile delinquency funding to equip the SRO.

It had been a stumbling block for the School Board. The SRO's salary was in the schools budget, but not the cost of equipping him, or her.

"It teaches the students to respect police officers," schools director Roy Dukes said.

Bowden substantiated the point.

Students "learn to see the officer is not someone to fear, but someone who can help them," the judge said.

Lewisburg Police Chief Chuck Forbis was not at the signing ceremony, but was in full agreement with the idea of having an SRO at the middle school.

"It's a good idea to have one there," Forbis said this week. "My personal thought is to have one at all the schools."

Deputy Ben Fender, 24, the new SRO, was hired by the Marshall County Sheriff's Department on May 2 and graduated from the police academy on July 24. He said he'd heard the SRO job was going to be posted, talked it over with his wife, and applied.

"It will be a good opportunity to experience new things," Fender said.

He starts at LMS when the MCSD finds a replacement for him on the road. That means he will probably start in August, when the students go back to school for the 2011-2012 school year.

Fender has lived in Marshall County since he was four years old, and his wife (they were married last month) was born and raised here.