Collegedale Academy Head of School Brent Baldwin on Tuesday introduced the school’s latest addition to the faculty team, School Resource Officer Cordario Eatmon. This position is a first for the 131-year-old Christian institution as well as for the Collegedale Police Department.
“We’ve never had a school resource officer,” said Chief Jack Sapp. “and without the partnership and agreement between the city and Collegedale Academy we’d still be at the drawing board.”
The topic of school safety has become one of the most pressing issues to date across the state, mainly due to the tragic school shooting in March of this year at Nashville’s Covenant School, a private academy with no school resource officer.
“Since announcing the creation of this position I’ve received countless phone calls from agencies across the state wanting to know how they could follow our example in creating a school resource officer position for their private schools,” said Chief Sapp.
During a school board meeting earlier in the year the members voted in favor of the partial funding of a school resource officer for their campus, which is responsible for the education of children in grades K through 12. The Collegedale city commission also voted unanimously in favor of the agreement.
Presently the State of Tennessee only provides the option of state-funded security cameras for the 600-plus private schools across the state. There are currently over 105,000 students who attend those schools.
“[The State Governor’s] stance [regarding school safety] opened the idea of Collegedale Academy working with the Collegedale Police Department on this worthy endeavor,” said Brent Baldwin in a previous news article.
“This is no small feat, and one I’m extremely proud of being a part of,” said Chief Sapp.
“Creating a partnership with a private school system that doesn’t typically staff SROs, is a giant leap forward in maintaining the safety and security of our city’s most valued treasures.”
Officer Cordario Eatmon, or Officer C, as the kids have started to call him, is a former police officer with the Murfreesboro Police Department and a former Special Agent with the Tennessee Department of Corrections. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama, with a minor in Psychology. He hopes to begin work on his Master’s Degree within the year.
“If I get to change the mindset of students for the positive, then I think I’m doing a good job,” said Officer Eatmon. “I pursued this SRO position because I wanted to have a positive impact on the lives of young people. I wanted to make that influence my new purpose.”