The Wilmington high and middle schools this year have a full-time school resource officer on site.
Wilmington Police Department’s Ptl. Patrick Black, who regularly volunteers at Special Olympics and coaches soccer, is primarily assigned to the high school and middle school, but will stop in each week at the school district’s three elementary schools as well.
Wilmington City Schools Superintendent Ron Sexton said Thursday a full-time officer is expected to provide two basic benefits. One service is added protection, while a second anticipated benefit involves relationship-building between the officer and students, said Sexton.
He elaborated that students will become comfortable with an officer whom they see and interact with daily, and they will be inclined to let the officer know what they see and hear around school and “head off problems way before problems occur.”
There are 1,900 people every weekday for hours in one location — the high school and adjacent middle school facilities — which is the most people at any one spot in Clinton County, Sexton said.
The addition of a school resource officer comes at no cost to the district.
Wilmington Chief of Police Duane Weyand said, “In years past, we would make appearances at the high school and middle school. Now that our staffing levels are up, we are able to assign an officer full time to a school resource officer program.”
Black completed school resource officer training at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy this summer.
In having Black throughout the day, Wilmington becomes the third school district in the county with an assigned full-time officer.
Clinton-Massie Local Schools added a school resource officer last year. Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Wood fills that role.
And Laurel Oaks in Wilmington has had a school resource officer for about a dozen years, according to Clinton County Sheriff Ralph Fizer Jr. Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremiah Milburn is the officer there.
“It’s a great program,” Fizer said. “The students build a rapport with these deputies. It seems to work.”
Both Clinton-Massie and Laurel Oaks pay the salaries of their school resource officers, according to Fizer.
East Clinton Local Schools does not have an officer assigned to its schools full time, the sheriff said. But deputies are instructed to patrol school grounds and check in with the school office as part of their normal duties, he said.
Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt said BPD personnel on all three shifts are required every day to spend time in a Blanchester Local Schools building or on campus.
On the evening shift, Blanchester police officers meet student-athletes and their coaches, said Reinbolt; on the day shift, officers interact with students and staff; and on the night shift, they check doors and get to know the janitorial staff, he said.
Gary Huffenberger can be reached at 937-382-2574, ext. 2512 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.