MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — One of the first School Resource Officers in Tennessee is hanging up his badge.
After 36 years in law enforcement, Sgt. Bill West with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office retired last week.
"I just could never turn away from it, those kids kept me young," West said.
West was one of the first five officers the Rutherford County Sheriff placed in schools in 1993 — the first school resource officers in the state. He’s been at Brown’s Chapel Elementary since 2010.
West says it’s the lack of positive relationships with law enforcement that is partly fueling the demonstrations we see right now. He says pushes by groups like Black Lives Matter to remove School Resource Officers from schools would undo the relationships they’ve worked hard to build.
"It would be affected, it makes sense it would be affected," West said. "Some departments do a better job with community outreach than others, but no matter how you put it, this is one of the best community outreach programs there is. This is community-oriented policing at its best. It's connecting with the community."
They are connections that West says he's proud to look back on, with students he’s proud to have helped.
"I’ll miss all that, I’ll miss all that," West said.