HECTOR — The Hector School District has a new school resource officer (SRO), Aaron Culwell. Superintendent Mark Taylor explained it is the result of a partnership between the school district and the city of Hector.
“[Former mayor] John Riley and I started talking about this about a year ago,” Taylor explained. “[Pope County] Sheriff Shane Jones helped us out a lot. But we figured out the best way to go was the partnership between the city and the school district.”
Taylor said the district received in-state and out-of-state applications for the position.
“We had an applicant we felt like was right for us, a good fit,” Taylor said about Culwell. “Aaron was with the Pope County Sheriff's Office, and I visited with Shane and [Chief Deputy] Blake Wilson about him. He is fully certified and is from this area. I like the way he interacts with people. It was a good hire. He is doing a great job for us.”
Taylor pointed out any time a law enforcement officer is on the other side of Pope County, it takes them 20 minutes to get to Hector.
“That’s always been the scary part,” he said. “But thanks to John and [current Mayor] Carey McGee, we felt like we came up with a good situation that works for everyone. One good thing about Hector, the school and community are one and the same. The parents tell us they feel good that an officer is on the school grounds full-time.
“We know other school districts had them, but we never could afford one. Now the partnership with the city has made that possible. We bought some peace of mind for a lot of people. We’re getting there. We are now installing secure door locks on all the doors district wide. We are trying to take every step that we can.”