By Scott Bidroski
A program that took a bit of a break due to some shifting in funding has made its much anticipated appearance back within the walls of Gordon-Rushville Public Schools.
City of Gordon Police Officer Scott Fleming has been appointed the new School Resource Office (SRO) for the District and began his duties when school opened on Thursday, August 18.
The SRO took that break because the funding that was supporting it, in the form of a grant, was stopped.
This time around, the City of Gordon, in cooperation with the City of Rushville and the School District, put up the funds to revive the program.
And that is where Officer Fleming jumped into the position.
“I knew we were advertising for the position and I thought it would be important for it to be someone that the community knew,” said Officer Fleming.
“I volunteered to take the position and get off the road so I can impact lives in a different way,” he added.
There are various ways that parents, staff, and students will see Officer Fleming on a day-to-day basis.
He will split his time between all four school buildings located in Gordon and Rushville.
Having a presence at drop-off and pick-up of students, along with jumping in on some of the recess fun are exciting ways he gets to interact with students. He has even joined in on a few gym classes already at the High School and Middle School.
“I’ll move through the schools each day and try to take advantage of situations in which I can build relationships with the students,” said Officer Fleming.
In order to qualify for the position, Officer Fleming was required to take a 40-hour class in Omaha, Neb. prior to taking over the role.
In that training, the basics of mitigation through presence and the importance of preventing crime through education were topics learned.
Officer Fleming also received information during his training to instruct a variety of classes for all ages. The topics can range from your 1st and 4th amendment rights, to safety outside of school, among a litany of other possible subjects.
The impact of having the SRO within the District is not lost but Superintendent of GRPS, Nathan Livingston.
“Gordon-Rushville Public Schools would like to welcome Officer Fleming as the new School Resource Officer (SRO). Officer Fleming has already been active in each of the schools and has been visiting with and getting to know students and staff,” said Livingston.
“Within the school system, the SRO plays a role in providing a safe school environment, developing positive relationships with students, offering informal mentoring and support to students, and offering expertise from a law enforcement perspective in classroom settings where appropriate. We are excited to have Officer Fleming working with the school district this year,” he added.
Officer Fleming has already began his work within the schools and when asked what the most important aspect of his role is, he answers with one word; safety.
“My number one job is safety of the kids and creating a safe environment to learn and not have to worry about their safety,” said Officer Fleming.
“To me, it’s one of the most important jobs I can have within the PD. The ability to provide safety and security for innocent people, that to me is just so important,” he added.