(MITCHELL) – Mitchell Police Officer Rob German is in his second year of being the Mitchell Community Schools System Resource Officer. Officer German works hard at building positive relationships among administrators, students, parents, and the community.
Officer German took his basic School Resource Officer training in Greenwood last year, and then completed the Advanced School Resource Officer training this year in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Being a School Resource Officer is never routine, and is more than just being a police officer. German’s day typically starts with making sure traffic safety is followed at the school and children are delivered to the school safely.
School Resource officers sometimes serve as counselors, talking with students about issues at home or school.
“My door is always open to students if they want to talk about an issue,” stated German. “ It’s an informal setting, and we can talk about whatever is on their mind.”
Officer German visits with students during lunch at both the junior high and high school, interacting with the students to make them feel comfortable.
Officer German says over the last couple of years, people’s perception of law enforcement has changed.
“Sometimes, it’s an ‘us vs. them’ perception, and I work to change the perception of law enforcement,” he added.
Around dismissal time Officer German is again patrolling to make sure high school students and other drivers are abiding the speed limit in the school zone and seeing that students load the buses safely. He also keeps an eye out on students who ride their bikes to and from school.
Officer German says the administrators have been wonderful to work with.
“The superintendent, school principals, and school staff have all worked together to make sure the students are safe,” said, German. “The safety committee just had its first meeting of the year yesterday. We will be looking at ways to improve safety at all of our facilities.”
“So far, everything has gone smooth over last year, with very few issues,” Officer German added. “We make sure everyone in the building has a purpose for being there. We make sure no one is wondering the facilities aimlessly. Contractors, food vendors, and visitors are monitored from the time they enter the building until they leave.”
Officer German responds to anything in the Mitchell Community Schools Corporation whether from the high school and both elementary schools. In addition, Officer German teaches the D.A.R.E. program to fifth graders.
The D.A.R.E. program is not just about drugs. In fact, only the first chapter deals with alcohol and drugs. The remainder of the program teaches students about making responsible choices, peer pressure, communication, and bullying, just to name a few of the things the program now addresses.
Bullying has been an issue for students across the nation.
“We address the issues of bullying, and our school system has done well to discourage bullying,” Officer German added.
Bullying is when a student is constantly being targeted, isolated, being harmed and controlled by another person.
Social media has been used to bully and threaten students.
“We sometimes deal with those issues at the school level, then other times we get the prosecutor involved and figure out how those issues will be dealt with. I have an excellent working relationship with the Prosecutor’s office,” said German. “Once we learn of the bullying, the issue is taken care of, and most of the time, it does not have to be re-visited.”
“Mitchell has a great school system, with very few issues. The school corporation does a wonderful job,” he added.
Officer German is a Mitchell native and has lived in the city his whole life. He and his wife, Tiffany, have two children ages 12 and 1 1/2. Officer German graduated from the Mitchell High School. His law enforcement career started eleven years ago. He started as a corrections officer at the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department and moved up from there.
“I truly enjoy my job,” he added.