(Posted Feb. 1, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Southeastern Local Schools now has a second student resource officer (SRO). Officer Kyle Marlett started his assignment at Miami View Elementary at the beginning of January. Sgt. Robert Dunsmore, who used to split his time between the school district’s two buildings, now focuses on the high school/middle school building.
“The board came to a decision last fall that with the current state of school violence (in the country) it would be more advantageous from a safety and security aspect to have an SRO at each building,” said Southeastern Superintendent David Shea.
“I feel very good about our community. It’s a safe community. But I think we must do our due diligence and be on guard. Having a second SRO will give us a leg up in that aspect.”
Both officers are employed by the South Charleston Police Department. They are assigned full time to their respective schools during the school year, then work patrol full-time for the village in the summers. The school district covers the cost of the officers for the time they spend at the schools. The police department covers the rest of the year, plus SRO-related training and continuing education.
“We’re lucky as a small community that we can put that out there for our staff, students, and parents, compared to other jurisdictions that are struggling with money,” said Police Chief Brian Redish.
Shea said the arrangement is a win-win. The schools increase their safety and security. The police department increases their staffing.
This marks the fourth year Southeastern has had at least one SRO on campus.
“With the trending times, (the SRO program) has helped out a lot,” Redish said. “If you look at some of the things that are happening at schools these days… it puts us in on the ground so we can help cut off some issues and help the school district resolve things in a quick manner. We’re a lot more proactive than reactive in a lot of areas.”
On a day-to-day basis, an SRO’s primary duty is to act as a deterrent to violent crime and to promote school safety by creating a positive atmosphere where students and staff feel safe.
With a month under his belt as an SRO, Officer Marlett said he is working on doing exactly that.
“I want to cultivate a relationship with the kids and let the staff know they can trust me, too,” he said.
He added that it has been an adjustment for both himself and the students. For him, it’s a new routine and a different scope of work. For the students, it’s a new face.
In an effort to get to know the students, Marlett said he has been getting in on some dodgeball and basketball games and spending time with the students at recess and in the hallways.
“I’ve already gotten some hugs,” he said about making connections.
Marlett completed his SRO training late last year. He has been employed by the South Charleston Police Department for a little over a year. He has been a police officer for about five years. He previously worked for Kettering Health Network, the city of Piqua, and Premier Health’s Englewood campus near Dayton.