A familiar face will soon be walking the halls of Bellefontaine City Schools.
Blake Kenner, Sr. was selected this week as the next School Resource Officer (SRO) for Bellefontaine City Schools. Kenner, who retired in February from the Bellefontaine Police Department with 31 years of service, will be on duty for the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.
The vacancy was created when Officer Alan Huffman retired after serving as an SRO at BCS for the last seven years. In total, Huffman’s career in law enforcement spanned more than 34 years with stints at several agencies throughout west-central Ohio.
Police Chief Chris Marlow commented on the re-hiring of Kenner “I am extremely happy Mr. Kenner decided to apply for the Seasonal SRO role and I am elated to have him back as he was missed dearly following his retirement. There is no doubt he will excel in this role and be an excellent bridge between the community, the police department, and the city school system. Officer Kenner will also be an excellent resource as a friend, role model, and resource for our children.”
With the vacancy in the SRO role created by Huffman’s retirement, there was an opportunity for the school and city to take a fresh look at how the SRO program would be staffed in the coming school year and beyond. It was determined that the school could recognize considerable cost savings and maintain an SRO throughout the school year by hiring a part-time, Seasonal SRO. Officer Kenner will fill this role, which will follow the teacher calendar, not to exceed 7.5 hours per, 177 days per year. Bellefontaine City Council passed an ordinance approving the Seasonal SRO position on July 11th. The school district will pay for 100% of the costs to employ Kenner as a Seasonal SRO and will recognize a savings of more than $26,000.00 annually.
“After carefully analyzing finances and prioritizing district needs, I am thankful that we are able to fill the vacant SRO position at the Bellefontaine Middle School. I’m thrilled to have Officer Kenner as the middle school SRO. He has a proven record of service to the community and will be a great fit at the middle school,” said BCS Superintendent Brad Hall.
In addition to Officer Kenner serving as a Seasonal SRO at the Bellefontaine Middle School, BCS will continue to have Officer Doug Walters as a full-time SRO at the high school. DARE Officer Isaac Chiles also has a significant presence at both the elementary and intermediate school buildings.
“This is another great example of the cooperative relationship that the City of Bellefontaine and Bellefontaine City Schools have maintained for years. We were able to work together to arrive at a solution that benefits the students, teachers, and community. The re-hire of an officer with the experience and dedication to our city that Mr. Kenner has shown throughout his years of service is a perfect fit, and I know he will be an asset to the school district and our police department,” concluded Mayor Stahler.