STARK COUNTY, Ohio-The FOX 8 I-Team has found local police and sheriff’s deputies assigned to schools doing something they’ve never done before: Dozens of officers from eight counties are spending a week in Stark County training together.
Stark County has been rocked in recent years by teen suicides and even a deadly shooting in a school. Stark County Sheriff George Maier said, "We see things going on around the country; we know that the risk is high." He added, "It’s important to me and to the folks who are here today that we're all on the same page. We're working in unison with each other."
In fact, in addition to the local incidents, everyone here is also well aware of school violence making national headlines, too.
We saw some of the training will involve going through a building to spot where security might be weakest. But walking the beat of patrolling school hallways also involves tapping into social media and so much more.
Tim DelVecchio with the Ohio Schools Council said school officers need to be alert and plugged in with students, teachers, and more. He said, "What are some of the threats that are developing? Who are the children that might need some special attention or counseling?”
And these days, officers in the schools can't just be concerned with what's going on inside. Here now, a growing focus on sharing information with police and deputies on the streets. Or, also getting to know more about what's going on in the streets to have a better idea of what's going on in the schools.
Ohio now requires training for officers in schools. This training for Northeast Ohio officers is the first of its kind.
Sheriff Maier said, "I can tell you that a school resource officer's responsibilities are much different than what they were even 20 years ago."
And in many ways, now more critical than ever.