Friday, July 19, 2024
Happening Now

Overton’s Conatser Named Tennessee SRO Of Year

Overton County School Resource Officer Allen Conatser has been named the Tennessee SRO Of The Year for his work at Wilson Elementary School.

Conatser said he has been a detective, a deputy, and worked on K-9 units since starting in law enforcement in 2007. He said being an SRO is the most rewarding title he has held. He said if he teaches students important values early, law enforcement is less likely to deal with them as adults.

“I want to be a good example to them,” Conatser said. “So if they don’t have anybody to look up to at home, then maybe I can be a mentor to them and show them the way they should act and do and manners and morals and stuff.”

Conatser said he wants to make kids feel safe without feeling uncomfortable or nervous that the police are around. He said he is often the last person in the building, ensuring that every student and staffer is safe and secure until the school is empty each evening.

“I’m probably not worthy of it, but I put in a lot of hours,” Conatser said. “I make sure that all the kids are gone home.”

He said the role of an SRO has changed over the years with increased violence in schools across the county. He said one of the most important parts of his job is ensuring that entrances are secure at all times and everyone inside feels safe.

“If I see anybody in need, I try to help if there’s any way I can help,” Conatser said. “Just anything I can do to make the community better.”

He began working with students on firearm safety two years ago when he started a BB gun program through 4-H shooting sports. Conatser said the team is set to compete in a national competition this year. He said he prides himself on being a friend and mentor to each student he works with.