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New school protection officer training program

With the recent mass shootings in public places, such as schools, Vigo County School's Coordinator of Safety implemented a new S.P.O. Training Program to ensure students' safety.

Posted: Aug 6, 2019 6:42 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2019 11:03 AM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- In light of tragic headlines recently regarding mass shootings, Vigo County Protection Officers are being trained accordingly. School officially began on Tuesday and those officers are ready to put their training into practice. 

Travis Chesshir is Vigo County School Corporation's Coordinator of Safety and Security. He was hired six months ago and has implemented a new training program for school protection officers.

"We're implementing new policies, procedures, department handbooks, and evaluations," Chesshir claimed.

He first implemented a merit style board for hiring new student protection officers consisting of a Terre Haute Police Officer, a Vigo County Sheriff's Deputy, and a West Terre Haute Police Officer. They will help ensure that appropriate and qualified candidates are being hired.

The School Corporation is also moving forward on introducing a project called "Handle with Care" to help students cope after traumatic events.

Lastly, Chesshir is working on a clear cut handbook detailing expectations for school protection officers emphasizing establishing relationships with students and preventative measures. 

"The number one priority is student safety," Chesshir said, "Keeping unauthorized individuals out of the school and securing the structure is very important"

"Our officers have a passion and a drive for keeping the youth of this community safe," Chesshir added. 

School protection officers such as Tim Finnerty, S.P.O. for Honey Creek Middle School, says he can already see the benefits of the new training program.

"We receive more detailed training than we ever did before," he said, "With the current events happening--We talk about those and how to better observe things and how to help and prevent them in the future."

Chesshir said keeping the training and managing of protection officers consistent is key to success. The emphasis on officers forging personal relationships with students is key to a safe environment. They want to remind students that they can't help if they don't know what's going on. 

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