Fyffe High School was established in 1935. The school’s mission statement includes the goal of providing a safe learning environment.
One way in which they strive to accomplish this goal is to have a school resource officer on duty at the school.
Zach Aldridge serves as Fyffe High School’s SRO. Aldridge is a graduate of Fyffe High School, and has been in law enforcement for nine years.
“I told the sheriff if this position ever became available, here at Fyffe, I would be interested,” Aldridge said.
Aldridge’s father was in law enforcement, having served as park manager at Buck’s Pocket and as a game warden.
“It’s sort of the family business,” Aldridge said.
Part of Aldridge’s duties include keeping watch over the drop-off and pick-up of students on each school day.
Additionally, he teaches a criminal justice class and teaches DARE class to fifth-graders. Currently the criminal justice class has 10 students, all of which are seniors. The majority of the students in his class plan to seek out a career in law enforcement.
Part of the curriculum in the criminal justice class is to teach the students the codes police officers use to identify the activities they are engaged in. For example, a 10-28 refers to running the license plate on a vehicle.
Learning the basics before attending the police academy serves as an advantage to the students’ success in reaching the goal of a career in law enforcement.
While some students may not enter law enforcement, their time spent with the SRO helps them have an appreciation for the difficult job officers face on a daily basis.
The students come away from the course with a better understanding of the importance of following instructions during a traffic stop.
Students receive a better comprehension of why officers behave in the manner that they do.
“A police officer can never become complacent; not if he wants to go home at the end of the day,” Aldridge said.
The SRO who serves as the instructor for the criminal justice class does not just read in a text book about how things are done– he has on-the-job experience. Aldridge attended SWAT team school in addition to the police academy.
Some students may come to realize, through taking the class, that law enforcement is not for them. This helps them set their career goals earlier in life.
The SRO is also the ever-present narcotics detective and abuse counselor, who puts the interests of the students and staff above his own.
– This column, written by Marla Ballard, will appear as a series in the Times-Journal weekend editions to feature DeKalb County School Resource Officers. A series highlighting the SROs in the Fort Payne City School System will follow.