Safety, security, education keys for resource officers
Developing relationships is a big part of the job for School Resource Officers.
The Dublin Board of Education last week got a look at a day in the life of a school resource officer before approving contacts to provide SROs for all high and middle schools in the district.
Brian Nimmo, who has been a member of the Dublin Police Department for 18 years, spent five years at Scioto High School before taking a break to serve on patrol duty for five years. He returned to patrolling the hallways of Scioto High School in 2008.
For Nimmo there are three main jobs for an SRO: safety, security and education.
"We work with staff and administration to ensure safety," he told board members. "There's also law-related education."
At Scioto, Nimmo teaches a Drug Abuse Resistance Education component to students as well as self-defense for girls.
Science classes also get some hands on lessons from Nimmo when it comes to lasers and radars used by police.
At the middle school level, officer Kathy Evans said being accessible is the key.
"I greet the kids in the morning," she said, noting her place at the back door of the school to say "hi" to students being dropped off by their parents.
"Being approachable is important. Parents can come talk to me about any problems when they drop off their kids."
Evans, who has been at Sells since 2004, spends a lot of her time walking the hallways during class changes. There she develops relationships with students.
"I also have lunch duty and bus duties at the end of the day," she said. "We're highly involved in student's day-to-day activities."
The drug prevention program used at the middle school level is custom made, using data from Dublin students, Evans said.
"We have a specialized program dealing specifically with what our students are getting in trouble for," she said.
While Nimmo's biggest challenge at the high school level is theft, Evans said she works to teach students to think before they act.
SROs also spend some time working with teachers and administration on safety procedures.
"We're shifting from the traditional lock down mode," Nimmo said, noting training is done with a few teachers who take the knowledge back to their school building.
Board member Lynn May said she's seen SROs at school dances and applauded their round the clock work.
"I'm grateful we could partner with the city to have this at all the middle schools and high schools," Gwen Callender, board vice president said.
"My kids always spoke so highly of the officers," she said.
Through the partnership with Dublin, the school district will pay $257,491 for SROs for the 2013-14 school year.
The district splits the cost of five officers with the city and Dublin pays for the remaining two SROs.