The Watch with Will Kennedy: CMPD Officers Offer Real Resource to Charlotte Schools
School resource officers are there to enforce the law and make sure our schools are safe. But these men and women do so much more.
CHARLOTTE, NC — CMPD provides full-time school resource officers to every Charlotte CMS high school and middle school. Those officers are there to enforce the law and make sure our schools are safe. But these men and women do so much more.
“Alright Stephon,” says Officer Daniel Overcash, who serves as the SRO at Garinger High School in East Charlotte. “I’ll come talk to you in a minute, okay?”
You’ll find them on every CMS middle and high school campus across Charlotte. CMPD officers patrolling the hallways, lunchrooms and classrooms; bonding with the students and providing an invaluable resource to their school.
“We spend eight hours a day with these kids and this staff, so you’ve got to get to know who you’re going to be around,” says Officer Teyawna Hardy.
“A lot of these kids I’ve known since I was on patrol in the neighborhood,” says Officer Overcash. “So when you come here, and you continue to see them grow and get older; and hopefully help them through their life choices and try to keep them out of trouble.”
Officers Overcash and Hardy are the SRO’s at Garinger High School in East Charlotte. Overcash patrolled in the Eastway division before coming to the school three years ago. Hardy is just wrapping up her first year on campus.
“My grandmother used to always say you know if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” says Hardy. “That’s how I feel being here, absolutely love it.”
“They build positive relationships with the kids,” says Garinger principal Kelly Gwaltney. “They mentor them on senior exit projects. They talk to them about what they’re going to do in the future. And they’re a resource.”
Principal Gwaltney says the officers are part of the school family. The relationships they build with students are the ultimate in community policing.
“They already have a mindset on what the police do,” says Officer Hardy. “Police don’t do nothing but harass folks, bother folks. They get to come here, and they get to interact with us, and they realize, ‘Ah man that’s not what I’m used to. I actually like this.’ ”
Some school resource officers go out on patrol during the summer break. Some will stay at their school if there are summer classes available.