Arizona Police Officer Named National School Resource Officer of the Year
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) today presented its Floyd Ledbetter National School Resource Officer of the Year Award to Officer David Fernandez, Peoria Police Department, Peoria, Ariz., as part of NASRO’s annual School Safety Conference. More than 900 police officers, educators and others are receiving specialized training at the conference this week.
Fernandez serves as a school resource officer (SRO; a specially trained law enforcement officer assigned to work in a school) at Peoria’s Centennial High School. The annual award recognizes an SRO who has made specific and significant contributions to the officer’s local town, city, county and/or school district.
“Officer Fernandez is everything we hope every school police officer will be,” said Mo Canady, NASRO executive director. “We’re pleased to honor this outstanding officer.”
In addition to performing the normal duties of an SRO in an exemplary manner, nomination letters described actions Fernandez takes that go beyond those expectations. For example, Fernandez is instrumental in the school system’s Students with Aspiring Goals (SWAG) program, which provides support to incoming freshman students who have been identified as “at risk.” To help the students develop positive attitudes for academic success, Fernandez meets with them several times a year for pizza lunches and athletic events. Also, when students from his school are involved in incidents (e.g. motor vehicle collisions) outside school hours, Fernandez often returns to duty to be on the scene in support of those students.
NASRO bestowed its Exceptional Service Award upon SRO Bill Oslick, Collier Township Police, Presto, Penn., for his work at Chartiers Valley High School, Bridgeville, Penn. This award recognizes continuous and sustained service to the school community above and beyond that normally expected of an SRO. Oslic’s exceptional service included assuring that, through private donations, the school’s special needs classroom received materials it needed that were outside the school’s budget.
The organization presented its Safe Schools Leadership Award to Jerry McConnell, facility director at Moore Norman Technology Center, Norman, Okla. This award recognizes individuals who are willing to support and further develop the SRO partnership with their schools and who exemplify leadership, innovation, dedication and taking proactive measures to enhance the safety of the school community. Among other exemplary actions, McConnell helped the Oklahoma Commission on School Safety conduct a comprehensive analysis of school security throughout the state.
As part of the conference, the National Road Safety Foundation bestowed the Innovation in the Classroom Award to SRO Kristen Mayo of the Round Rock Police Department, Round Rock, Texas. This award is presented for innovations in the classroom that educate young people about traffic safety. Mayo was selected for her efforts to build bridges and break barriers between students, teachers, administrators and law enforcement. For example, she created Safe Prom Week, a week-long event that raised awareness of the consequences of impaired driving and bad decisions, which included a public safety fair, wrecked car demonstrations and a “reality education for drivers,” with simulators that dramatically demonstrated the impact of impairment on reaction time.
In addition, NASRO recognized five police agencies for exemplifying in their training, policies and standards the NASRO triad concept, which describes three main parts of an SRO’s role: mentor, guest lecturer and law enforcement officer. Model agencies also demonstrate creative and innovative approaches to school-based policing. The following agencies received the organization’s Model Agency award:
- Canton Police Department, Canton, Mich.
- Peoria Police Department, Peoria, Ariz.
- South Fayette Township Police Department, Morgan, Penn.
- Round Rock Police Department, Round Rock, Texas.
- Wallenpaupack Area School Police, Hawley, Penn.
NASRO presented its awards during a breakfast ceremony at its annual national conference in Anaheim, California.
NASRO is a nonprofit organization for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators, and school security and safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff, and the schools they attend. For more information, visit www.nasro.org.