The Kentucky Association of School Resource Officers named Deputy Kenny Collins the 2006 Officer of the Year at its annual conference held in Bowling Green. Deputy Collins has 22 years of experience as a law enforcement officer, including five years as a SRO at Calloway County High School.
Photo left to right: Calloway County High School Assistant Principal Brian Wilmurth, CCHS Resource Officer Kenny Collins, CCHS Principal Yvette Pyle, CCHS Athletic Director Bill Cowan.
The principal of the school, Yvette Pyle, recommended him for the award for going above and beyond what is required as SRO. Some example of his extra duties include: assist with Driver Education program by teaching and discussing driving related laws; promote and participate in Prom Promise; schedule the KCPC Fatal Driving Simulation Experience; participate in Drive to Stay Alive program; instruct drug and alcohol abuse prevention initiatives in the classroom; and support Project Graduation.
As significant as these activities are, perhaps the most critical role Deputy Collins plays is as a member of the administrative team charged with maintaining order in the school. The principal, vice-principal, athletic director and SRO comprise the team that make decisions concerning consequences for disciplinary and law violations. They understand the importance of consistency and fairness in enforcing rules and assessing penalties for Board and law violations and work closely together to insure that this occurs. For serious offenses, the school files criminal charges and students understand that their actions will have consequences.
The team has developed a close working relationship with the local court system and, more likely than not, the judge is likely to assess penalties for the offenses. As a result of this approach, there were no cases of terroristic threatening, drugs, alcohol, or weapons violations to refer to the Board in the 2004-05 school year and only one referral during the 2005-06 school year. The number of law related incidents has also dramatically decreased: 77 in ’01-’02 (the officer’s first year), 25 in ’02-’03, 15 in ’03-’04, 12 in ’04-’05, and 11 in ’05-’06. The principal gives much of the credit for the decrease in violations to the officer’s presence and his role on the administrative team.
Deputy Collins is very accessible to the 900 students who attend Calloway County High School; his office is located off a main hallway with an open door policy. He gives students his cell phone number and encourages them to call him any time if they have a problem or an issue they want to discuss. He is also a EMT and has assisted in medical emergencies at the school. He is credited with saving the lives of at least two students.
The officer’s knowledge of law enforcement activities during non-school hours has proven an unexpected asset, as he is able to help administrators prevent problems which occur in the community from spilling over into school hours.
Deputy Collins has also had an impact in helping school officials deal with situations involving parent aggression. He encourages educators to expect civil behavior in their dealings with parents and is ready to intervene if problems arise. Often, his presence outside the hallway during a parent-staff meeting is sufficient to prevent problems.