Governor: Student safety is a ‘top priority’
By JONAY CORLEY
As of Monday morning, Deputy J.L. Richardson of the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office assumed his new post at Tyler Consolidated, taking over the position of Prevention Resource Officer for the county.
The resource position was previously held by Deputy D.S. Dalrymple and prior to that by Sheriff Bob Kendle. Both Dalrymple and Kendle were well-liked by the students and staff, which means Richardson will have some big shoes to fill.
“Surprisingly, the staff has embraced me and I feel right at home,” Richardson remarked. “I have attended some school functions already and it’s clear that the community and the students are behind us as well.”
In addition to Deputy Richardson’s presence at the school, his K-9 partner, Bravo, will be housed on the grounds. According to Richardson, Bravo is already a big hit with the students and the staff at Tyler Consolidated. “They love having him (Bravo) on the grounds. He has his own ‘office’ here at the school where he can go to unwind.”
The PRO program is one that West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin considers one of his priorities.
“Student safety is a top priority in our schools and prevention resource officers have helped add another dimension to campus safety.These trained men and women in uniform have been beneficial to both students and school personnel by committing themselves to reducing student-on-student conflict, maintaining order around campuses and deterring unauthorized individuals from entering our schools.I am confident that our state’s prevention resource officers will continue to help keep our schools safe and productive,” the governor commented.
Sheriff Kendle whole-heartedly agrees with the governor regarding the importance of the program. “I think the PRO program is wonderful. I wish there was a uniformed officer in every school, in every county throughout the state,” he said.
Three days into the 2010-2011 school year, Richardson has not dealt with any major issues while on post. Proof perhaps that ‘prevention’ measures are working in Tyler County.
The PRO Program is a cooperative effort between schools and law enforcement to: Improve student’s attitudes and knowledge of criminal justice and law enforcement; to prevent juvenile delinquency; to mentor youth; to provide a safer school environment and; to combine safety and child advocacy assuring a better school experience for all WV youth.
There are currently 66 officers, in 66 schools, serving the public in 32 counties in West Virginia.