There’s a new sheriff in Stark County, and he is making sure people are seeing more of him and his officers out in the communities they serve.
Since the beginning of the year, Stark County Sheriff Corey Lee has been relieving his deputies of some their duties, so they can have more of a presence in the county.
“Before the deputies were spending a lot of time serving papers, doing transports, and now that is stuff being handled by different parts of our organization,” said Lee.
One of the things he wants his deputies spending more time on is patrolling the three rural schools in Stark County.
“I felt our time wasn’t allocated properly, and now we are stepping up and filling the voids that have been there for some time,” said Lee.
The sheriff’s office patrols the schools once in the morning as the kids are going to school, and later that day as the kids are leaving.
“It helps remind people to slow down a little bit and take their time (as they are driving by the school),” said Calvin Dean superintendent of South Heart School.
Dean said the City of South Heart has only one part-time police officer and having another officer around is a welcomed addition
“Having that law enforcement presence makes people feel like there is someone around in case something unfortunate would happen”.
The deputies also enter the schools periodically to check on the kids.
“They are very receptive to us. We will hand out stickers and talk to them about their day,” said Sgt. Daniel Kensinger, Stark County Sheriff’s Office.
On Monday afternoon Sgt. Kensinger spent part his school zone patrol shift serving lunch to the kids at South Heart School.
“It shows us in a different light. We can be fun and approachable”.
Sheriff Lee hopes the program will help keep the schools safe, and kids will feel more comfortable talking to an officer if they have a problem.
The Stark County Sheriff’s Office currently does not have a school resource officer, but Sheriff Lee plans to have one in place by the start of the new school year.
The Stark County Sheriff’s Office patrols the public schools in Belfield, South Heart, and Richardton-Taylor.
All the schools are pre-K through 12th grade and have less than 400 students.
Stark County is a little more than 1,300 square miles, and Sheriff Lee said his office has 24 deputies, and 15 of them are dedicated to patrolling the school zones.