Montevallo welcomes new school resource officer

School Officer Brandon Pendergrass, kneeling, and Police Chief Jeremy Littleton talk with Montevallo Elementary School Student Government leaders: Anna Kate Church, Chloe Boyd, Hayden Dennis, Emily Carter and Matt Macomb. (contributed)

School Officer Brandon Pendergrass, kneeling, and Police Chief Jeremy Littleton talk with Montevallo Elementary School Student Government leaders: Anna Kate Church, Chloe Boyd, Hayden Dennis, Emily Carter and Matt Macomb. (contributed)

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

Brandon Pendergrass is Montevallo’s new school resource officer. Chief Jeremy Littleton explained that when the opportunity arose to appoint an officer for this position, Pendergrass was an obvious choice.

As Littleton was appointed chief of police, one of his top priorities was school safety. When funds became available, they decided to put a full-time officer in the local schools.

“We wanted someone who had specialized training to deal with specific school issues, and we also wanted someone who could develop positive relationships with the students and be a mentor,” Littleton said. “Pendergrass cares about our students and wanted to contribute to this great program. We felt that he could fill the role and meet our expectations because he, along with everyone in our department, is very dedicated to protecting our teachers and children.”

Pendergrass is excited about his new position. He will serve the elementary, middle and high schools. Obviously, he cannot be in all three schools at one time, but he will be on call and easy to reach.

Pendergrass said his responsibilities include school safety, counseling, mentoring, the development and implantation of strong programs to discourage drug and alcohol abuse and in-school petty crime investigations and prevention. He also will maintain the full role of a law enforcement officer.

“Being a school officer is a very different kind of police work, a learning experience for me with great opportunities,” he said. “I love kids and I want to teach them that the police are their friends.”

The position of the school resource officer was made possible through the cooperative efforts of the Shelby County Board of Education, the Shelby County Commission, and the City of Montevallo.

This is Pendergrass’ second year with the Montevallo Police Department, but his first year as a school resource officer. He worked for three years with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and came to Montevallo from the Mountain Brook Police Department.

He grew up in Guntersville, where he attended public schools, and then went on to UAB. He and his wife, Leah, have one son, 4-year-old Caiden.