PRUNTYTOWN—At Tuesday’s Taylor County Board of Education meeting, one local law enforcement officer was recognized for making a difference at one local school.
In the 2017-2018 school year, Grafton City Police Patrolman Paul Collins took on the role as Prevention Resource Officer (PRO) at Grafton High School.
The three main components of the Prevention Resource Officer (PRO) Program are prevention, mentoring and safety.
At an earlier meeting, GHS Principal Lori Shumaker expressed that Collins exhibits all of those components and has been a valuable asset to the school.
Since taking on the role, incidents of school discipline, across the board, have dropped by nearly half, and he recently received the Above & Beyond Award, for going above and beyond what is required of a PRO.
Superintendent Christy Miller shared with the board that he received the award at the PRO Officer Recognition that was held a few weeks ago.
“I would second that, you have done a lot more than was ever expected out of you as a PRO,” she expressed. “I wanted to make sure you received recognition from our board for all of the hard work you have done at Grafton High School.”
According to a press release from the conference, PROs from throughout the state were recognized for going above and beyond during the annual conference for the statewide program.
PROs are certified law enforcement officers who receive special training to serve in their local elementary, middle and high schools.
While at the school, they maintain an office and are on duty a minimum 35 to 40 hours each week, and also typically attend extra-curricular activities throughout the school year.
“The PRO Program allows officers to establish trust with the students and act as a liaison between the students and staff,” said Justice Program Manager Tanisha Travis, the longtime PRO Program Coordinator. “PROs are not only trained to respond to dangerous school situations, but also provide mentoring services and talk to students about issues such as bullying, suicide prevention and drug abuse.”
As the name suggests, the program focuses on prevention as well as mentoring and safety. The 2019 conference provided training and certification to 101 PROs to serve in 32 counties, which is the largest number of officers in the program’s history.
“Schools with PROs in the building are the lucky ones, and since the program started in 1997 requests for officers have dramatically increased while funding has decreased,” Travis said. During the meeting, the Taylor County Board of Education members congratulated Collins on receiving the award and thanked him for his work at the school.
Vice President Clark Sinclair told Collins that he has really made a difference at the high school and he has seen a change in the school since Collins has been there.
“You are an asset to our board of education and our schools,” he expressed. We really appreciate all that you are doing at the high school.”
Board member Austin Upton also thank Collins for all that he is doing and told him to keep up the good work.
“I think you’re an outstanding role model for so many kids,” expressed Board member Mellissa Garvin. “You have a high level of approachability about you, and I think that is wonderful.”
Board member Douglas Flohr voiced that he would like to thank Collins his service and everything he is doing at the high school.
“One thing that keeps me awake at night is securing our schools,” Flohr added. During these times, I don’t think there is a greater threat to our children and you’re bringing a level of security in critical areas.”
Flohr also added that Collins is bringing a mentorship to the students at the school as well.
In addition, the members thanked Collins’ family for sharing him with the students at the high school.
Collins and his family thanked the board for recognizing him and all that he is doing to make the school a safer place.