'Incredibly deserving': Okaloosa County school resource officers honored

Janie Harris
The Okaloosa County School Resource Officers were presented the award on Tuesday at the National Association of School Resource Officers Annual Conference.

On Tuesday morning in Orlando, the Okaloosa County Sherriff’s Office School Resource Officer Unit was honored as one of the top programs in the country with the title of a “model agency” by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) at the NASRO Annual Conference.

“They are incredibly deserving. The amount of dedication they exhume is outstanding,” said Michele Nicholson, the OCSO public information officer. “This is one of the hardest working, most committed group of officers.”

NASRO is a professional group for the training of school-based law enforcement. It focuses on a triad concept of three roles of school resource officers (SROs)— teacher, counselor and law-enforcement officer.

To receive this award, SRO units across the country applied to be considered. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s department was one of 15 to be awarded with this honor. The Okaloosa SRO unit was notified about them receiving the award about a month ago.

“It is exciting to get this kind of recognition,” said Destin Elementary School Resource Officer Sonya Shepard.

Shepard told the Log that receiving this award will hopefully give the department more exposure and will help with the funding of projects the officers would like to pursue within the schools.

“It is hard for people to get behind something,” said Shepard. “It [receiving the award] allows us a platform to have people trust us.”