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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: 749532

Reported Deaths: 13746
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030911775
Lake554681006
Allen41636691
St. Joseph36947564
Hamilton36527416
Elkhart29363459
Tippecanoe22862225
Vanderburgh22542400
Porter19331325
Johnson18405388
Hendricks17588317
Clark13200193
Madison13120344
Vigo12604253
LaPorte12394221
Monroe12163175
Delaware10947198
Howard10263225
Kosciusko9614119
Hancock8549144
Bartholomew8162157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7772180
Grant7229179
Wayne7155201
Boone6917103
Morgan6736141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6206116
Cass5991108
Henry5894108
Dearborn588978
Noble580186
Jackson508674
Shelby500897
Lawrence4732121
Gibson444093
Harrison440773
Clinton440055
DeKalb438785
Montgomery434690
Whitley406042
Huntington402281
Steuben399259
Miami392768
Jasper386954
Knox375790
Putnam372160
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Jefferson335685
White330253
Daviess3031100
Wells295181
Decatur289992
Greene286385
Fayette284864
Posey273735
LaGrange272872
Scott269955
Clay265848
Washington244934
Randolph244683
Jennings235149
Spencer234231
Starke227558
Fountain218647
Sullivan213943
Owen211058
Fulton201542
Jay200932
Carroll193420
Orange188055
Perry186937
Rush175726
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Franklin170235
Tipton165846
Parke149016
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Blackford136132
Pulaski120247
Newton112736
Brown103943
Crawford102316
Benton101014
Martin91515
Warren83615
Switzerland8098
Union72810
Ohio57811
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1107225

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1285061459
Cuyahoga1156322204
Hamilton812991245
Montgomery524951040
Summit48356999
Lucas43309817
Butler38903603
Stark33297929
Lorain25641502
Warren24558303
Mahoning22332601
Lake21139385
Clermont20098252
Delaware18819135
Licking16649222
Fairfield16564204
Trumbull16527479
Medina15597270
Greene15256246
Clark14223306
Wood13281197
Portage13229214
Allen11903239
Richland11598211
Miami10837223
Wayne9116222
Columbiana9023230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8652122
Tuscarawas8639247
Marion8635138
Erie8052164
Ashtabula7139179
Hancock6996131
Ross6934161
Geauga6832150
Scioto6530104
Belmont6149174
Union583849
Lawrence5723102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5437125
Darke5415129
Seneca5344126
Washington5308109
Athens523360
Auglaize501687
Mercer487285
Shelby476295
Knox4568112
Madison443765
Ashland435197
Putnam4334103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4033110
Brown401961
Logan387377
Preble3847103
Clinton378566
Ottawa372781
Highland359465
Williams347878
Champaign343858
Guernsey324253
Jackson317554
Perry297150
Morrow291340
Fayette285350
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2699101
Coshocton268459
Van Wert247264
Adams242956
Pike242735
Gallia240550
Wyandot234556
Hocking220162
Carroll196948
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135839
Harrison113738
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
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