SYRACUSE — On Monday morning, Sept. 23, Doug Light was already interacting with some of the Wawasee Middle School students as they arrived for school. It was Light’s first day as the new school resource officer for WMS.
Through an Indiana School Safety Grant, Light will split time between WMS and North Webster Elementary as a resource officer. James Flecker, director of personnel and legal services for the Wawasee Community School Corporation, said the grant was a “50-50 collaboration” between the school corporation and the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office.
School safety grants are issued for up to $100,000, are matching grants and are used to obtain either safety equipment or school resource officers, Flecker said.
Light, a county sheriff’s deputy, also served for 22 years with the Warsaw Police Department and was previously an SRO for Lakeview Middle School in Warsaw. He is retired from WPD.
Flecker noted a resource officer is “more of a training tool” and will be used for proactive and preventative type training “instead of just reacting.” Light will provide D.A.R.E. training and other types of training such as discussing the negatives of vaping, which has become a considerable problem, Flecker added.
“A school resource officer is to promote the safety of the school,” Flecker said, adding that Light will interact with the students daily.
Light becomes the third school resource officer in the Wawasee school corporation. Joe Leach is assigned to Wawasee High School and Syracuse Elementary and Tim Miller works at Milford School.