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School resource officer to Trump: I would take a bullet for my students

Chris Bryant is an armed police officer who has spent every school day for the last 12 years at Hoover High School in...

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 9:12 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2018 9:12 PM

Chris Bryant is an armed police officer who has spent every school day for the last 12 years at Hoover High School in Alabama protecting hundreds of kids.

He is a school resource officer (SRO), a sworn Hoover Police officer who is armed and specially trained to be inside schools and working with children.

Bryant said when he heard that the resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida apparently stood outside a school building while a former student killed 17 teachers and teenagers inside, he felt sick to his stomach.

"I can't believe that somebody that was in my position for so long (would do that)," he said of Scot Peterson, a Broward County Sheriff's deputy who was the SRO for the school in Parkland.

A security guard 'doesn't love the children'

Bryant also took issue with comments by President Donald Trump last week, who called SROs a kind of "security guard" and suggested that teachers should be armed.

"See, a security guard doesn't know the children, doesn't love the children. This man standing outside of the school the other day doesn't love the children, probably doesn't know the children. The teachers love their children," the President said Friday.

Bryant rejected that characterization.

"Bottom line: I would take a bullet or an ass-whupping for you because you're my kid," he said. "That's my building that I'm sworn to protect. I didn't go to Hoover High School but I'm a Hoover Buccaneer through and through."

Bryant says he voted for Trump, is "as conservative as the day is long" and continues to support the President. But he says Trump's comments about school resource officers insult the work officers like him do every day.

"I'm not a security guard, I'm a law enforcement officer," he said.

The officer said he thinks one of the best ways to make schools safer is to have more SROs who are trained to do the very thing that Peterson reportedly did not do: rush into the school building when there is an active shooter.

The Hoover City Council announced last week it hired two more part-time SROs, according to the Hoover Sun, meaning all of its 16 schools will now have a resource officer.

Like a big 'meet-and-greet'

Bryant, like other SROs, is on the job from before the first bell until well after the last at the school in Hoover, Alabama, just south of Birmingham. He spends his days roaming the halls, talking to students who have in school suspension, monitoring security camera feeds and, sometimes, breaking up fights or looking into suspected drug use. He even travels with the schools' sports teams across the country.

"It's like a big meet-and-greet all day," Bryant said. "Kind of like a doctor -- you make your rounds."

He spends his entire day staying on top of what the kids at his school are up to.

Peterson was also regarded as a good resource officer and was named SRO of the Year in 2014 by the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Deputies and officers assigned to schools in Florida, like Peterson, are trained by the state's Attorney General's office. Peterson was suspended without pay and later resigned after the deadly shooting.

Peterson's attorney refutes allegations his client did nothing

Bryant says he can understand why some people believe that arming teachers is the best way to protect children, but he believes that an officer like him is a much safer choice.

"The idea of teachers having guns, initially, hey, that makes me feel good," Bryant said. "(But) how do you get them in the mindset that they are responsible for each bullet that comes out of that gun? Without proper training, and years of it?"

SRO group says registrations on the rise for training

Bryant was a bomb technician with the Hoover Police Department for 12 years, a SWAT officer for three years, and received 40 hours of basic training to become an SRO. He also goes to conferences every year to stay current on state law and trends in school policing.

The National Association of School Resource Officers says since the Parkland shooting, it has seen a surge in registrations for the training sessions it sponsors for officers across the country. Executive Director Mo Canady says only about 20% of public schools in the country have SROs. Now he's calling on communities to do whatever is necessary to fund a resource officer in every school in America.

"There are plenty of cities and counties who have funded this position," Canady said. "It has to be all the way down to the local community that's buying into this."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1130719

Reported Deaths: 17736
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1468762242
Lake732391255
Allen68004883
Hamilton51739488
St. Joseph50459650
Elkhart40619547
Vanderburgh34963497
Tippecanoe31212276
Johnson27963467
Hendricks26585385
Porter25969387
Madison21318457
Clark20392279
Vigo19244309
LaPorte17405261
Delaware17004303
Howard16942315
Monroe16794220
Kosciusko14447167
Hancock13259186
Bartholomew13180191
Warrick12320190
Wayne12200269
Grant12181247
Floyd12096226
Morgan10552192
Boone9966124
Noble9429123
Marshall9295147
Henry9268169
Dearborn9053100
Dubois8877140
Shelby8402130
Cass8241128
Lawrence8134185
DeKalb7933109
Jackson779993
Huntington7761116
Montgomery7213123
Gibson7179118
Harrison7031100
Knox6958116
Steuben676589
Miami6675114
Whitley667260
Putnam651286
Clinton633179
Wabash6323111
Jasper622192
Jefferson5946105
Ripley565994
Adams547981
Daviess5124118
Scott498980
Wells4894106
White486069
Greene4749101
Clay468662
Decatur4659110
Fayette462597
Jennings457167
LaGrange432291
Posey412944
Randolph4010107
Washington393656
Fountain382264
Fulton368374
Spencer365147
Starke361474
Owen358577
Sullivan351155
Jay336450
Orange335272
Rush314833
Carroll301639
Franklin295244
Perry292853
Vermillion285958
Tipton253367
Parke251630
Pike251244
Blackford224944
Pulaski213759
Newton185052
Brown179750
Benton171717
Crawford170729
Martin152619
Switzerland149412
Warren137816
Union125116
Ohio92913
Unassigned0599

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1735925

Reported Deaths: 26851
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1807941843
Cuyahoga1705042655
Hamilton1146441544
Montgomery811601405
Summit728891210
Lucas637861027
Butler57319814
Stark544971183
Lorain42941645
Warren36238417
Mahoning36168788
Lake32818501
Clermont31601369
Trumbull27766620
Delaware27462185
Licking26929344
Medina26408353
Fairfield24875287
Greene24585373
Clark22391390
Portage21591283
Richland21339342
Wood20348248
Allen19172326
Miami17486352
Columbiana17078335
Muskingum16882207
Wayne15914307
Tuscarawas14631362
Marion13477196
Ashtabula12980237
Erie12832199
Scioto12586188
Pickaway12326155
Ross11824226
Hancock11659175
Geauga11090179
Lawrence10729172
Belmont10548234
Huron9891159
Jefferson9724228
Union966575
Sandusky9465166
Seneca9020161
Knox8893176
Washington8738159
Darke8446181
Athens842897
Ashland8130152
Auglaize8042120
Shelby7575135
Defiance7431117
Crawford7376150
Fulton7284113
Brown7225116
Logan7087111
Guernsey701786
Mercer6964100
Highland6822120
Clinton6554106
Williams655299
Madison653990
Preble6343140
Putnam6300122
Jackson586597
Champaign586187
Perry571279
Coshocton5700108
Ottawa5696102
Morrow524665
Fayette499072
Hardin4960100
Gallia475878
Van Wert470895
Pike468478
Adams4638110
Henry440380
Hocking414293
Holmes4044141
Wyandot379975
Carroll373678
Paulding327551
Meigs307961
Monroe237261
Noble221949
Morgan219439
Harrison216953
Vinton189738
Unassigned06
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After a cold start to the week, warmer air begins to filter back into the region Wednesday.
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