Campus Cops

Wednesday, two Leon County teenagers were led away in handcuffs, charged in connection with the beating of a Leon County deputy. That same day a Godby High School senior was arrested for bringing a gun to school.

The hidden link behind both busts was a School Resource Officer.

"Both of these cases are good examples of the cooperative spirit between our school employees and Leon County Sheriff's Office," says Bill Montford, Superintendent of Leon County schools.

School officials say the "campus cops" connect with kids, opening the door of communication so students see someone they can trust, even when the kids are facing felony charges.

Lyman Babcock, School Resource Officer, says, "When I arrest kids I tell them, I don't like what you've gotten into, but I still like you. They get a strange look and realize I am going to get a chance to change."

For more than two decades, deputies have policed public schools, weeding out drugs, rounding up weapons and pulling truancy patrol.

Perhaps their biggest tool for fighting campus crime is the student body they protect.

Daniel Tatum, a SAIL High School senior, says, "Law enforcement in general, kids are afraid to talk to them, but having them here lets us know they are humans."

And it's that human touch that is making a difference in the lives of students, even those on the wrong side of the law. Every middle and high school in Leon County is staffed by a full-time School Resource Officer.