LEXINGTON, S.C. – For the first time in history, each public school in Lexington County has a permanently assigned school resource officer, 39 of whom are Lexington County deputies.

“This is a landmark accomplishment that has taken a lot of work and cooperation from all the law enforcement agencies and the five school districts across Lexington County,” Sheriff Jay Koon said. “I’m proud of the role we’ve played in providing full SRO coverage for our community’s elementary, middle and high schools.” Lexington County deputies serve as SRO’s in 35 schools, with two on duty each day at Chapin, Irmo, Lexington and White Knoll high schools.

“We’ve added six permanently assigned SRO’s at elementary schools for the upcoming academic year,” Koon said. “Thanks to pay increases the previous two budget cycles, we’ve seen deputies step up to take on these important roles. The pay increases have also positioned us to hire deputies from the outside.”

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and the General Assembly have worked together to provide funding for SRO’s across the state.

“A number of municipal police departments in Lexington County have assigned officers to cover schools inside their town limits,” Koon said. “We’ve all worked together to make sure the school campuses in our community stay safe and secure.”

Batesburg-Leesville, Cayce, Irmo, Gaston, Lexington, Pelion, Pine Ridge, Swansea and West Columbia have assigned officers to schools within their jurisdictions in recent years, Koon said.

“With an SRO in every school, those who attend and work at each school can rest assured each SRO is a specifically trained law enforcement officer focused on crime prevention, crisis response and community-oriented policing.”