Bellefontaine City Schools and the Bellefontaine Police Department have teamed up to bring more of a police presence in our local schools this year.
Officer Andrew Kennedy has recently completed School Resource Officer training and soon will attend DARE/Drug Prevention officer training in late September/early October. The hope is to build a stronger relationship with our school-age youth.
Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley and Superintendant Beth Harman believe that this relationship will continue to evolve, but the value of having an officer’s presence in the schools is immeasurable.
The police department maintained a very strong DARE program up until 2004, when budget cuts forced the end to that program. Since then, the police department has struggled staffing officers more routinely in the schools. Chief Standley notes that what has been the most obvious evidence that the police need back into more school activities, is that “the relationship between our City’s youth and the police took a setback when DARE was lost”, and that “the focus of our society must be our youth and their future, based on solid prevention efforts and education”. “We (the police department) want nothing more than to applaud our children who are not abusing substances and those who are steadfastly staying drug free!” “We want to do the most we can do to protect our youth from societal pressures, addictive substances, and abusive choices/relationships”. Both Superintendant Harman and Chief Standley agree that with kids being faced with so many variables in their lives, it is important that they understand at an early age the dangers that can result from poor choices.
Officer Kennedy will maintain his role as the eighth grade GUIDE program officer, along with Officer Blake Kenner. In addition, Officer Kennedy is expected to begin a fourth-grade drug prevention program yet this school year from the new training he will soon complete.
Bellefontaine City Schools and the Bellefontaine Police Department are extremely excited for this opportunity, and realize the potential positive impact that this decision will have on our community and our youth.