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MACEDONIA -- School Resource Officer Glenn Nicholl says he loves his job.
Nicholl, a Macedonia police officer who was appointed SRO last year, has spent the past several months fostering relationships with Nordonia High School and Ledgeview Elementary students.
As he walked through the high school parking lot with him, a young elementary school boy, whose mother works at the high school, stopped him to ask him if he drove to the school in the little car that was parked outside.
"Yes, I did," Nicholl told the young boy. "Do you want to come out and see it?"
The boy's face lit up and Nicholl smiled.
"That's what I love about my job," he said, adding he loves just talking to students and helping them realize that police officers are "just normal people too."
The car, a repurposed Mercedes, is a two-seater smart car. The police department obtained it through a drug trafficking bust, during which the car was dismantled and 24 pounds of marijuana was found hidden inside panels throughout the car. The department was able to get the car put back together for free and a local company even wrapped the vehicle with the police department logo as displayed on other crusiers.
"There was no cost to taxpayers," Nicholl said. "It is a good use of a seized car."
As part of the budget approved last year, Macedonia City Council agreed to spend around $100,000 more per year to fund the new police department position. Police Chief Jon Golden said the school resource officer was take over some duties already performed by the department's juvenile diversion officer, and to expand upon them to benefit both the schools and the community.
Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark said Nicholl has been a "welcome addition."
"I have seen him in action dealing with some student discipline issues, and I have witnessed first-hand how Glenn is visible around the district building relationships with staff and students," Clark said. "Because of our great kids and dedicated administration and staff, NHS has always had a positive, safe atmosphere. Glenn has fit right in in maintaining that atmosphere."
Nicholl said that on his first year in the schools, he's had to break up a couple of fights and handle a couple of juvenile drug offenses (marijuana and Adderall) at the high school and responded to an unruly student who assaulted his teacher at the elementary school. Nicholl said there were no serious injuries in any of the incidents.
Nicholl said his approach to violent situations is to talk to students and "try to get them to understand that hitting and yelling are not acceptable."
He added some issues stemmed from social media, including "sexting." He said the result of 'sexting' and the fights was placing the offending students into the diversion program.
He said that for the most part, students have been respectful even thanking him for his service.
"Overall it's been pretty quiet," Nicholl said. "I'd like to think that's because I am here."
His job doesn't just stop at interceding when issues arise, but his days also include occasionally talking to government classes, explaining why police do what they do -- something he had already been doing on his own time for the past seven years. He also volunteers to work sporting events and dances on his own time as well to stay involved with the kids.
Nicholl said he sometimes reads to the younger students at Ledgeview and plans to spend more time at the elementary school next year.
"I had teachers ask me why I didn't visit their class, but I wasn't trying to avoid it, I just didn't want to disrupt the classes," Nicholl said. "Next year some of the teachers are going to email me and try to set up a good time so I don't become a distraction."
Ledgeview Principal Kristen Cottrell said the kids at her school are excited to see the Nicholl in the mornings.
"We have kids who hug him every day," Cottrell said. "I think it builds a strong relationship to see that the police are there to help us."
Nordonia High School Principal Casey Wright said students and staff love working with Nicholl.
"He is the perfect person for this position," Wright said. "The relationships that he is able to create and maintain, promote a safe learning environment in which our students can excel and our teachers can effectively provide meaningful, engaging instruction.
"We are very grateful that the City of Macedonia has provided us with a school resource officer to support the positive learning environment that has been established here for our students and staff," Wright added.
School is almost out for the summer but while teachers and students get a summer break Nicholl will not. He said he will be out patrolling the roads just like other Macedonia police officers, though he anticipates working during the Safety Town program this summer.
Briana Barker: 330-541-9432