Marion High School Resource Officer Tara Sims won the 2021 Safe Schools Leadership Award for SRO of the Year in July. The award goes annually to SROs in Arkansas. Sims was selected over several other nominees.

“Tara is an exceptionally hard-working, professional person,” said MHS Principal Paul Johnston. “She and I work very well together and we make a great team. She's great with students and is a school person through and through. A lot of officers don't understand the school business and how things work, but she gets it completely. She's a perfect fit.”

Sims, a Marion police officer, has patrolled MHS for five years, and she's worked in law enforcement for seven years. Several members of the MHS faculty wrote letters supporting Sims' selection as SRO of the Year.

“We all believe and subscribe to the idea of being on the same team here,” said Sims. “With our principal knowing so much about law, especially juvenile law, it lets me do so many things. They gave me this award, but it's really about all of us working together here.”

Sims was attending the Safe School conference when she found out she won the award.

“They called me up on stage in front of everyone there that day and told me I won SRO of the Year and I just couldn't believe it,” said Sims. “I go from taking notes about safety to winning an award like that. It was really surreal.” “We all respect and appreciate the job she does,” said Johnston. “Our working relationship is like a hand and a really well-fitting glove. She's happy to do whatever we need to be done around the school.”