The journalist group Education Week has reported, there have been 27 school shootings so far this year, including the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas last month.
A Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy serving as a school resource officer spoke about his position and how his department prepares to make students and parents feel safe.
Deputy Derrick Goettel says his favorite part about being a school resource officer is the connections with students.
“To know the kids as I built those relationships, you could just see them realizing a deputy is here and that’s a good thing,” Goettel said. “I’m not there to arrest kids or turn little situations into big ones.”
He’s been with the Churchville-Chili Central School District since 2020 after a survey to parents led to the creation of the role.
“I just kind of fill in the gaps,” he said. “I get called by counselors a lot, ‘hey what do you think of this situation? Is this a law enforcement situation?’ I get called by administrators, I get called by parents in the district when their kids have something happen and they’re wondering, ‘is this a police thing? Can you help out?’”
He says he had special training for the position and still undergoes regular training as well.
“I know my department is pretty forward-thinking and every deputy went through solo-man active shooter training,” he said. “I went through active shooter training when I was in the academy, and that’s something I’ve reached out to our sergeants about getting more of that training.”
He says there’s a lot of unrest amongst students and parents after the school shooting in Uvalde. But he says he wants to serve as a reassuring hand.
“The times we live in, you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “So just knowing we’re prepared — it’s something we think about, something we’re planned for — hopefully that helps put people’s minds at ease.”