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March 9, 2017 · OPINION

Sheriff’s office building relationships with students

Photo/Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Bob Mosier eats lunch with Mya Larose at P.B. Smith Elementary School near Warrenton in January.
By David Jeck
Fauquier School Superintendent

I met with Sheriff Bob Mosier not long after he was elected (in November 2015), and he asked me a simple yet sincere question: What can the sheriff’s office do to better support the schools?

The answer was easy because various principals have shared the same request: More law enforcement visibility in our schools. They have asked this of us not for the purpose of intimidation, but for the purposes of developing relationships with students and allowing students to see deputies (and the sheriff himself) in a friendly, supportive and non-threatening light.

The sheriff has obliged us to the extreme. As I visit and drive past schools, I often see patrol vehicles parked out front. Likewise, I am periodically sent pictures and social media posts of deputies eating meals with students or making presentations in classrooms.

In the vast scheme of things, these may seem like insignificant gestures, but they are not. The strengthening of these relationships is helpful in many respects. Today’s students respond positively when they believe that the adults in their lives care for them and that at least one person is looking out for them.

We’ve seen a huge impact at our middle and high schools through our School Resource Officer (SRO) program. Many potential issues are headed off because students are willing to share information with SROs because they trust them. This is so critically important.

So, a long overdue “thank you” to Sheriff Mosier and all of the great Fauquier County law enforcement officials and deputies. You are making a meaningful difference, and we value our ever-strengthening partnership.
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