Some counties also work with local police departments to
have officers assigned to schools. Three of these school resource officers are
on duty at Berkeley County’s
Deputies from the county
Sheriff’s Department work at
Musselman and Hedgesville High
schools while an officer from the Martinsburg
Police Department is assigned to Martinsburg High.
Deputy Tom Carroll is on the beat at Musselman
High School in southern Berkeley
County. He shares an office with
Assistant Principal Matthew Wink, who handles discipline.
“My job is to keep all the kids in the building safe,
outside threats, kids who have discipline problems, I assist Mr. Wink who’s the
disciplinary principal here in assuring his safety and kids safety here in the
building,” Carroll said.
Musselman has about 1,700 students and 150 employees.
There’s an On Site Emergency Team of employees that meets once a month to
discuss security and review the measures that are in place.
Carroll has some help in the form of what he calls his 52
eyes. That’s 52 cameras mounted throughout the school. From the office, Carroll
can keep track of almost every corner of the building.
“The camera system here, I can actually zoom in onto the
floor and see what’s lying on the floor,” he said. “I can zoom in on a person’s
face and move the camera around, this system in phenomenal.”
Carroll said the camera system is a deterrent and an
important tool that helps him do his job better.
“I can record, I can go back, if somebody gets into a fight
I can see who threw the first punch, I can take a kid if he’s skipping I can
follow him all the way through the building and find out where he goes,”
Carroll said. “The cameras are phenomenal.”
Carroll spends a lot of time walking the hallways and
checking all the exterior doors to make sure they’re locked and not left open.
“Which is kind of hard when you’ve got almost 1,700 kids in
the building, they’re going outside to go into the other side of the building
so they leave the door open, you’ve got teachers that come in and out so I’m
always trying to check the doors to make sure they’re locked,” he said.
“You walk by the bathrooms, take a real quick smell to make
sure nobody’s smoking in there, and if you see a kid walking down the hallway
you make sure they’re where they’re supposed to be and not out causing havoc,”
Most of the problems Carroll sees involve bullying on social
networking sites that spill over into the school day and drugs.
“If we can get the drugs out of the building it’s better for
everybody,” he said. “Drugs are pretty big. Prescription drugs, they can get
them from their parents. Marijuana they can get from anywhere. You got the
states now that are legalizing it. It’s one of the big issues.”
As Carroll walks the hallways he greets teachers and talks
with students. Carroll enjoys working on cars and trucks, so between classes
one student stops for a short conversation about that.
Carroll is dressed in his police uniform wearing the belt
that holds the tools he needs to enforce the law. The students will ask him
questions about his career.
“A lot of the kids always ask questions about my taser,
pepper spray, what it’s like being a cop,” he said. “Probably the biggest
deterrent on my person is my taser. A lot of kids really are intrigued by that
“They ask me what it feels like so I try to explain to them
that it’s not something you want to have happen to you, get tased,” Carroll
said. “So a lot of them, they like to joke about the taser ‘come on Carroll
tase me, tase me.’ I’m like no you don’t want to do that it’s not fun, it’s not
Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut
there’s been a national debate about whether more gun control measures should
be enacted and whether more schools should have armed protection.
“Arming teachers, I think the only person inside the
building that should have a gun should be a police officer,” Carroll said. “If
you want to put an armed person in an elementary school put a police officer or
a retired police officer in that building.”
Carroll believes only those with correct training should be
allowed to have a firearm inside a school, but said having an armed officer
doesn’t provide a guarantee.
“Only way you can really protect the school is put a 12 foot
fence around it, two armed guards at a gate, one way in, one way out, metal
detectors,” he said. “The kids don’t want to come to that, that’s just like a
jail, they don’t need that.”
Carroll’s marked sheriff’s department vehicle sits in front
of Musselman High. Having a visible police presence, strong security system and
emergency plan serve as a deterrent to students who might break the law and,
Carroll hopes, offers a degree of safety as they go about the business of