DSC 6099In an effort to establish trusting relationships between kids and cops, as well as keep the county schools safer in turn, Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly recently announced that a third educational service officer will be added in the 2016-2017 school year.

Kelly delivered a presentation to the New Carlisle Rotary club last Tuesday, explaining recently-added and upcoming programs in the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. He noted that his deputies are most active in Springfield and Bethel Townships, which account for the top two “busiest” areas of the county. He said the overwhelming majority of criminal activity in this county is the result of drugs and addiction, noting that the next generation is also being affected by the current epidemic.

“We’ve had two pregnant women in the hospital this week on heroin overdoses,” Kelly said. “We’re basically breeding a generation of drug-dependent children,” he said, explaining his department’s focus on early education with children in the upcoming school year.

When school begins next fall, the sheriff’s department plans to implement an array of educational programs to reach students before they find their lives in a downward spiral because of drugs, as well as incorporating an additional school resource officer into the force. Kelly said the extra officer will join the current force of two, who rotate between the county school districts’ respective buildings. School resource officers are also joined regularly by road deputies out on patrol in the area. In addition to establishing human connections with students and staff, the resource officers also help to productively handle emergency incidents at the school such as threats or violence.

Tecumseh Local Schools’ Assistant Superintendent Paula Crew responded to Kelly’s announcement at Rotary last week, saying the district was extremely appreciative of the extra officers roaming the halls at Tecumseh buildings.

“We are elated--absolutely elated that there will be another full officer assigned to the schools next year,” said Crew. “Deputy Cultice has been assigned to our district for the past several years, and just his presence in the school helps students and staff know there’s someone there to turn to if needed.”

Crew said Cultice has been assigned to Tecumseh for three years, and taught the D.A.R.E program in the district for six years.

She noted that Cultice also is a primary source of assisting with mediation for troubled students as well as being a strong advocate of the district’s anti-bullying campaign.

“We want to give huge accolades to the Resource Officer and the folks at the Clark County Sheriff’s Office,” she said, thanking them especially for their thorough response to the district last week for two written threats, saying they responded with nearly a half-dozen deputies each time.

Sheriff Kelly said that he would employ at least one resource officer at each school if he had the resources, but noted that the additional deputy will establish more of a visible presence in the county schools. In addition to the extra resource officer, two full-time D.A.R.E. officers will also be employed, bringing the total of deputies in the schools to five.

Kelly said he has no say in the hiring process of the third Resource Officer, who will be selected by a panel that includes educators and join current officers Cultice and Mark Lane. He said training for the new Resource Officer will begin in June so that he or she is ready to enter the schools when the 2016-2017 school year begins.

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