Today on the Pioneer Police Department Facebook page the department released a statement regarding the current status of the SRO Program in the North Central Local School District. It read as follows:
At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, the Pioneer Police Department, in conjunction with the North Central Local School District, introduced the School Resource Officer Program. I completed the state mandated SRO training in July of 2019 and Officer Parker Phillips completed the same training in January of 2020.
On Thursday, August 22nd, 2019, students arrived for their first day of school, and I returned to school, for the first time in years (I am not going to disclose how many years, do not want to date myself)! As the beginning of the school year progressed, I, along with the students, were learning. Learning how to properly utilize the position of SRO.
While students were in their respective classrooms, I patrolled the hallways, making sure the building was secure. As the older students would change classrooms when the bell rang, I would be a presence in the hallway.
In the weeks prior to the Thanksgiving break, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the elementary students. I was invited into the classrooms and for the younger students, I read the book, “Police in Our School” by Becky Coyle. Once I finished reading the book to the students, I allowed them to ask questions and have an open conversation with me.
Once the questions were answered, I had them color a picture of a police officer. Some of you may have seen these come home with your students. For the older elementary students, I prepared a power point presentation that discussed personal safety. Again, once the presentation was completed, the students were given the opportunity to ask questions and have that open conversation.
On a personal note, the students were attentive and receptive. The questions were age appropriate and the conversations were very intuitive. I thank, not only the staff at North Central, but you the families for having such wonderful children.
For the Junior High and High School students, I would engage them in conversations, whether in the lunchroom or in the hallways. I would stop in for any assemblies and was even asked to be the impartial party in a contest where names were drawn from a hat.
I accompanied the High School students to Montpelier High School when the Ohio State Supreme Court visited in the fall. When asked, I would provide some insight to the High School Government classes. When my job responsibilities had me removed from the school, Officer Parker Phillips was there to take my place.
Both Officer Phillips and I attended as many after school events as possible. Athletic events, concerts, and parent/teacher conferences are a few of the events.
As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic struck and this past school year did not end in the manner which we all would’ve liked. Spring athletics, prom, and the fourth quarter were devastated by this virus.
Through it all, Chief Timothy Livengood and I were present for the unorthodox graduation ceremonies and assisted in any way we could.
Unfortunately, I must inform everyone that the School Resource Officer program is being suspended, due to the financial concerns facing the North Central School District. While I, nor Officer Phillips, will be inside the building during the upcoming school year, the Pioneer Police Department is committed to working with the North Central School District.
Officers will be present at home athletic events and if an incident would require law enforcement attention, we are only a phone call away. If the financial situation improves for the district, the SRO program will hopefully be reviewed for reinstatement.
Thank you all for your support!
Lieutenant Jonathan Roberts