WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Having previously served a decade as a school resource officer for Wilson County, Lt. Scott Moore is now the supervisor over those very officers.
“I think it’s the greatest role in law enforcement,” Lt. Moore with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office told News 2.
When parents of the county’s 22,000 students drop their children off at the 27 public schools, Moore said the main goal is to make them feel safe. Part of that, he said involves keeping the campuses drug-free.
The process of locating drugs on campus includes speaking with staff members, like bus drivers and cafeteria workers, to see if they have noticed any suspicious activity, as well as looking through car windows in school parking lots for any drugs in plain sight, and even searching the schools with drug-sniffing K-9s.
“A lot of kids don’t realize, and a lot of parents don’t realize, that everything is subject to search by school administration,” Moore said.
That crackdown is what Moore said has led to a notable increase in the number of student arrests and citations for drug offenses in Wilson County and Lebanon schools over the last three years.
(WILSON COUNTY/LEBANON SCHOOLS)
(Source: Wilson Co. Sheriff’s Office)
Moore said most offenders are high school students with some cases involving children as young as middle school age.
One of the most common drugs found was marijuana with the most popular being prescription drugs like Hydrocodone and Xanax.
According to Moore, students steal the drugs from their own family members, from a friend’s home, or just break into a house with the intention of stealing pills.
He adds that some students will put their lives on the line to hide the drugs.
“If they know that a teacher or an SRO is coming to a classroom, they start getting paranoid and they may try to swallow them, so we have to get them medical attention,” Moore said.
Though the numbers have nearly doubled, Moore called it “a small percentage” of the county’s students and said “some of those citations are repeat offenders.”
Those offenders face possible time in a juvenile detention facility.
As Moore and his school resource officers work to lower the number of drugs making it onto the county’s campuses, he said education is key, especially in sixth and eighth grade.
“I think with the access of drugs out on the street, I’m not sure that you can ever 100 percent keep drugs out of any school,” Moore admitted.
Still, Moore said that will not stop him from continuing his efforts.