Calera officers win SRO Unit of the Year award

By MACKENZEE SIMMS | Staff Writer

CALERA – On Monday, June 17, the Calera City Council recognized the Calera School Resource Officer team for receiving the SRO Unit of the Year Award at the Alabama SRO conference.

According to Calera Police Chief David Hyche, the 2023-2024 school year marked the beginning of the Calera Accountability and Success for Education program, initiated by the Calera Police Department.

“I think (this award) is significant because this was their first full year in existence as an SRO team,” Hyche said. “The accomplishments they have made in conjunction with our school administrators were phenomenal.”

Through partnerships with Central Alabama Wellness and the American Lung Association, the SROs in Calera schools have implemented a multitude of programming designed to benefit Calera students. These initiatives included substance abuse and addiction education targeted at middle and high school students, internet safety and juvenile mental health education at all four schools and an eight week vape cessation program.

Hyche shared his belief that the presence of the CASE team in schools has led to a significant decrease in the number of complaint calls made to the CPD by school administrators and parents.

“I know we still have problems in our school, but let me tell you. I’m going to let you in on a secret: Every school in America has problems,” Hyche said. “But (these officers) don’t just sit at a desk all day and wait for something to happen. They’re engaging with the students. They’re mentoring the students every day.”

At the city council meeting on Monday, June 17, Hyche displayed the SRO Unit of the Year Award and the CASE officers were called to stand before the council to be recognized in front of their constituents.

Calera Mayor Jon Graham addressed the officers gathered, thanking them for their work in Calera’s schools.

“You guys make us proud every day,” Graham said. “We appreciate what you do and how you protect our children in our city.”

In addition to recognizing the school resource officers at the city council meeting, the Calera Police Department also held a swearing in ceremony for new officer Trey Prell.

For Hyche, this moment was extra special because of his long standing friendship with Prell’s father.

“I am delighted that Trey’s dad and his family trust him with working here with us,” Hyche said. “He could have gone anywhere he wanted. Anybody would have hired this young man. We’re very lucky to have him.”

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