By SRO Kjell Michelsen

A new year is here and with that a new calendar that is already, at least for January, filling up fast. The start of a new year is always a little exciting.

Indeed, for many, it is a new beginning, or maybe just the same old beginnings from January last year. Anyhow it’s still a promise of a fresh start, planning on new projects at home, personal goals or things related to work.

As a high school SRO, I certainly have plans to improve in the job I do, be it training or activities related to the SADD Club or any of the other tasks I have or partake in.

We are now three full-time SROs who work for the Sheriff’s Department and who are assigned to Unicoi Elementary, Temple Hill Elementary and the high school. Being a school resource officer is actually one of several specialized fields within law enforcement, like SWAT, investigations, the drug units and others that require specialized training outside of the regular training one receives at the training academy and during our yearly in-service training.

For the last couple of years, we have been fortunate enough to be able to go to the yearly Tennessee SRO conference in Pigeon Forge. These conferences are a great tool for staying up-to-date with current laws as it relates to our jobs as SROs, but it is also an essential part of networking with other law enforcement professionals in the same field. As a small department, it can often be a challenge economically to make sure all our training needs are met. In that regard, I have to commend our Sheriff Mike Hensley and office staff who has made it a priority for all of us to be able to attend this and other training opportunities.

I am currently part of a working group who are in the early stages of planning for a mock-crash scenario for some of our high school students this coming spring. I am excited about this and all the help from both the high school, personnel from neighboring high schools, Wings rescue, Erwin Police Department, the sheriff’s department, fire department and others.

In addition to that, I am also hoping to be able to send at least four of our SADD Club members to the yearly leadership retreat in Nashville this coming March. I was able to do that last year with a few of our students, and we had a great time.

Until next time, be safe, happy and may all your plans for the new year come to fruition.