RIO GRANDE — Gallia County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jason Montgomery received his Ohio School Resource Officer Master designation this week.
Montgomery has been a school resource officer with Buckeye Hills Career Center for more than seven years, according to Sheriff Joe Browning. He works as a full-time deputy in the school district and road patrol during the school’s off-season.
“Jason had the distinction of being one of 18 school resource deputies in Ohio that were selected for their new master SRO designation,” Browning said.
There are three different levels to the certification based on Ohio School Resource Officers Association criteria. The first level makes an individual a certified SRO. The officer has completed the basic training under the OSROA and remains a current member of the organization.
Those having completed the training in October 2014 or after receive a certified level pin with the date listing when they started the program.
Professional SRO levels affirm an individual who has met the certified basic standards and four or more years of accumulated and verified SRO duty. The officer must have attended two of four OSROA annual conferences during his four years. Two of those years require paid membership in OSROA during the four-year stint. The officer then must have the signatures of the school principal he serves, as well as his commanding officer, to verify his actions.
Master SRO standards recognize an officer that has met all the previous conditions of the lower tiers and has had seven or more years of service in a school. Four of seven OSROA conferences must be attended during the seven years, and at least four years of membership in the OSROA are required.
“We’re really proud of our school resource deputy program. We’re trying to grow it and we think it’s a great asset to the community,” Browning said.
Browning said the certification is “both an honor for Deputy Montgomery and the sheriff’s office,” as well as the schools in which he serves.
Browning noted that SROs currently serve in Gallia Academy and Buckeye Hills.
At the Gallia County Commission meeting Thursday, there was discussion about the anticipated inclusion of SROs into Gallia Local Schools. The sheriff’s office wants to add more than two officers to the program considering the number of schools Gallia Local has spread throughout the county. There was some concern among commission members about funding and keeping the officers full-time as patrol units once the school season let out. No solid conclusion was reached and the issue will likely be revisited in the future.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.