Hartselle schools appreciate SROs
Special to the Enquirer
Feb. 15 was National School Resource Officer Appreciation Day. For more than 20 years the school system has worked with the Hartselle Police Department to employ one more SRO. According to the school district, most campus safety initiatives and safety protocols were spearheaded by those officers’ efforts to keep students and staff safe.
Officer Zeke Eubanks serves as SRO at Hartselle High School. Eubanks attended HHS as a student and now serves HHS students in his SRO role. Eubanks has 20 years of law enforcement experience and is in his fifth year with HHS. He said connecting with students is something he enjoys. “I like building positive relationships with the youth within our school system, working to ensure our students are safe and successful inside and outside of school, and mentoring students who want to pursue a career within the law enforcement community,” Eubanks said.
For a little over a year now, Officer Sean Persall has served as Hartselle Junior High School’s SRO, but he has almost 24 years of experience in law enforcement. Prior to joining HJHS, Persall worked for the HPD as a night shift patrolman. “I enjoy working in the school environment, talking and getting to know the students, and teaching classes to the Intermediate School and Junior High kids,” Persall said.
Since January 2022, Hartselle Intermediate School has been served by Officer Jim Webster. Webster began his career in June 1996 as a dispatcher for the Alabama Department of Conservation and was hired by the HPD in 2000. After serving several years on patrol, he was promoted to the Criminal Investigations Division as the Narcotics Investigator for the city. He was also a member of the Morgan County Drug Enforcement Unit until his retirement in December 2021. HIS is the perfect place for Webster because he “loves having 10- to 13-year-old kids ask [him] tons of questions and loves fist bumps!”
Barkley Bridge Elementary School is served by SRO Randy Adams. Adams began working for HCS in 2021 after retiring from the police department as a patrolman and patrol supervisor with 25 years of experience. Adams said he enjoyed serving the community when he worked for the HPD, and he brings that love of service to his current role. “I enjoy talking with people and being a small link between the community and the school system. We act as a bridge between the school, the community, and the police department [in order to] foster a more open environment,” Adams said.
Since 2020 SRO Tommy Appleton has watched over Crestline Elementary School. Before working with Hartselle City Schools and Crestline, Appleton served with the Huntsville Police Department. He began those responsibilities in 1989. Appleton said he enjoys being with the students at Crestline and claims “getting high fives from the kids every morning” is his favorite part of the job. Bob Gorman also serves the students and staff at Crestline Elementary School. HPD’s Lt. Alan McDearmond said Gorman was the department’s first school protection hire.
F.E. Burleson Elementary School’s SRO is Roger Speake. Speake has been with FEB since November, has been with the Hartselle Police Department for 25 years, and has accumulated 34 years of experience in law enforcement. Speake says he hopes to give FEB students and staff a feeling of safety as they report to school each day, and he also said he hopes to “serve as a positive role model” in his daily interactions with students.