Palmyra Police Department officials selected an officer they felt would be the best fit — Police Chief Eddie Bogue said the previous SRO had resigned, and department officials did not want to rush during the selection process.

A friend.

A counselor.

A role model.

A confidant.

The School Resource Officer (SRO) takes on various roles within a school district, and a Palmyra Police officer is ready to wear a variety of hats when the second semester begins for Palmyra R-I students.

Palmyra Police Department officials selected an officer they felt would be the best fit — Police Chief Eddie Bogue said the previous SRO had resigned, and department officials did not want to rush during the selection process. Patrick Anderson, who has been with the department more than four years, received the nod and completed extensive SRO training in Jefferson City. He will officially begin his new duties Wednesday, Jan. 3.

“You don’t want to just put anybody in that position, because it is an important position for the police department and the schools to fulfill,” Bogue said.

Bogue said Anderson’s training included topics like the history and role of an SRO, transitioning from patrol to the schools, youth mental health first aid, the Missouri Safe Schools Act, drug identification and impairment and psychological impact training, cyber and social media communication investigations and active intruder shooter training.

Since the beginning of the SRO program in Palmyra four years ago, Bogue said “it has been very well embraced by the community,” and school officials have found that an SRO assists in various capacities, including helping out with various tasks and providing comfort through extra security — remaining prepared in case a major problem arises. Bogue said that no major issues have cropped up, stressing the importance of being proactive for everyone’s safety. And he noted that Anderson’s multiple roles as an SRO focused on other aspects besides enforcement.

In elementary and middle school, Anderson will be a friend who each student can look up to, Bogue said. For high school students, his role will expand to serving as a coach or counselor. Anderson will also be able to help students who are experiencing the negative effects of bullying — in person and via social media or other electronic means. Bogue said school officials are looking forward to Anderson’s arrival, and he said he felt other community members supported the decision, too.

Anderson’s knowledge of areas like ever-changing state laws pertaining to students, along with the prevalence and evolving landscape of social media, will be beneficial to the police department. Bogue said Anderson will be able to give him accurate answers to questions specific to the schools — and provide specific assistance to support for students and benefits that extend beyond the classroom.

“Ultimately, it’s good for the community betterment, because our goal is to make the quality of life in our community the best that it can be,” Bogue said.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com