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HomeSpringstead High School Bids Farewell to Beloved School Resource Officer
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Springstead High School Bids Farewell to Beloved School Resource Officer

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On Friday, June 18, Springstead High School bid farewell to Deputy Tommy Harris who had spent twenty-eight years as a School Resource Officer (SRO) there. Students, faculty, school administrators and Hernando County Sheriff’s Office personnel participated in the rousing send-off. Everyone greeted the thirty-five year veteran of the HCSO with cheers, while he bumped fists with members of the crowd.  

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A school resource officer is not just someone who makes sure that the campus is safe from internal, as well as external, threats; breaks up fights; or arrests students who commit crimes on campus. An SRO is also a role model to students and helps promote better relationships between the public and law enforcement officers. Some of the traits they must have is an even temper; patience; an ability to mediate arguments and fights; and skill in interacting well with children, adolescents and adults. You might say a School Resource Officer is a cross between a psychologist and a law enforcement officer. 

Harris, who became a deputy in 1986 and worked as a patrol officer for six years before becoming an SRO, exemplified all those traits. 

“The challenging thing is building trust and rapport with the students,” Harris explained.  

His most rewarding experience as a School Resource Officer occurred when he coaxed a student off a rooftop. 

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“He was being pursued by the police and he told them he wouldn’t come down until I showed up. I talked him down from that roof. I remember it like it was yesterday.”  

Harris saw many students graduate and then went on to work with their children when they attended Springstead High School.  Springstead happens to be his alma mater and his son, Cody, just graduated from there this year and will be joining the Coast Guard.   

Now that Harris has traded the title “Deputy” for “Mister” he plans to pursue a career in real estate and invest in the stock market. The newly-wed also looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Jenny, whom he married in January. 

A statement from the Sheriff’s office echoed the feeling of everyone at the celebration last week. 

Thank you Deputy Harris for your dedication, hard work, and the impact you have made on this community. You will never be forgotten, and of course, you will truly be missed. Enjoy your retirement!”

But, even more telling was some of the more than 800 comments that were posted on Facebook: “A Hero to those kid;” “Thanks for all you have done;” “Awesome example of a great officer;” “A true leader;” “Thank you for your commitment, hard work and the impact you have made in the community and for all the students!” 

 

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