Caro­line SRO pro­gram rec­og­nized by state

Times-Record - - NEWS -

ANNAPOLIS — Caro­line County’s School Re­source Of­fi­cer pro­gram re­ceived mul­ti­ple awards at the Maryland Cen­ter for School Safety’s an­nual con­fer­ence in Annapolis.

Cpl. Michael “Rico” Gestole of the Caro­line County Sher­iff’s Of­fice was named the Maryland School Re­source Of­fi­cer of the Year; and Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent Mil­ton Nagel and Caro­line County Sher­iff Randy Bounds re­ceived the School Safety Su­per­in­ten­dent and Law En­force­ment Ex­ec­u­tive of the Year Award.

Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools’ School Re­source Of­fi­cer (SRO) pro­gram was pi­loted in 2008 through grant fund­ing.

In part­ner­ship with the Caro­line County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Gestole was ap­pointed the county’s first SRO and as­signed to the cam­pus at Colonel Richard­son mid­dle and high schools. Since then, in ad­di­tion to his reg­u­lar school year du­ties, Gestole has be­come a 12-month SRO, al­low­ing him the sum­mer months to work on school cri­sis man­age­ment plans and pro­vide train­ing to school staff.

In sub­mit­ting the nom­i­na­tion, Nagel wrote Gestole epit­o­mizes the role of the SRO.

“I have never seen Rico in his of­fice,” Nagel wrote. “He is al­ways out and about in­ter­act­ing with stu­dents, staff and vis­i­tors. His visual pres­ence com­bined with his en­gag­ing per­son­al­ity is one of his best char­ac­ter­is­tics. Not only does he know ev­ery stu­dent by first and last name, he knows many of their par­ents and ex­tended fam­ily mem­bers.

“Rico has bro­ken down walls be­tween stu­dents and law en­force­ment, and stu­dents are com­fort­able com­ing to him and shar­ing in­for­ma­tion that is then used to help defuse sit­u­a­tions be­fore they be­come a prob­lem,” Nagel wrote.

Nagel and Bounds were nom­i­nated for their award, given in recog­ni­tion of out­stand­ing com­mit­ment to work­ing to­gether to keep stu­dents and staff safe through­out the school year, by Caro­line County Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Pa­tri­cia Sae­lens.

“Mr. Nagel and Sher­iff Bounds’ team­work, out­stand­ing lead­er­ship, and special com­mit­ment to Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools and the Caro­line com­mu­nity is in­spir­ing,” Sae­lens wrote. “They have de­vel­oped a com­pre­hen­sive school safety pro­gram with other coun­ties mod­el­ing our prac­tices and stan­dards. Their lead­er­ship skills have en­abled us to max­i­mize our dol­lars and re­sources, which is vi­tal to our small com­mu­nity.”

The Maryland Cen­ter for School Safety was cre­ated to pro­mote learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments in which youth statewide are in a po­si­tion to ac­quire the skills and knowl­edge to help them suc­ceed in school and in life.

The Cen­ter serves as a cen­tral lo­ca­tion for school safety in­for­ma­tion, and pro­vides schools with re­search, train­ing and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to re­duce youth vi­o­lence and pro­mote safety in the state.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Cpl. Michael “Rico” Gestole, left, Maryland School Re­source Of­fi­cer of the Year, and Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent Mil­ton Nagel, cen­ter, and Caro­line County Sher­iff Randy Bounds, right, win­ners of the School Safety Su­per­in­ten­dent and Law En­force­ment Ex­ec­u­tive of the Year Award, dis­play the plaques they re­ceived re­cently at the Maryland Cen­ter for School Safety’s an­nual con­fer­ence in Annapolis.

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