The Collier County Sheriff’s Office Youth Relations Bureau received the 2014 Model Agency Award from the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) on Monday.
The annual award recognizes a law enforcement agency for its creative and innovative approach to school-based policing.
“Your program is indeed a shining example of the school resource officers program,’’ NASRO Executive Director Mo Canady wrote in a June 3 letter to Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk announcing the agency’s selection.
The award was presented at the 24th annual NASRO School Safety Conference near Palm Springs, Calif.
Sheriff Rambosk said he appreciated the honor and credited the hardworking men and women of the Youth Relations Bureau who strive to keep Collier County’s school campuses safe.
“These deputies are not only keeping our campuses safe, they are also mentoring and educating our children in a variety of ways,” Sheriff Rambosk said. “Through their passion and drive, this special group of deputies is investing in our youth and their community. Keeping 45,000 students, 3,200 teachers and administrators, 1,200 support staff, 8,370 volunteers and mentors, and innumerable parents safe and involved is quite a feat, but our Youth Relations deputies are succeeding.”
The Sheriff's Office has a long history of providing safety and security in Collier County schools. The partnership between CCSO and Collier County Public Schools began in 1977 when then-Sheriff Aubrey Rogers first assigned eight deputies to safeguard our schools.
CCSO’s Youth Relations Bureau has grown into one of the biggest and most qualified school resource officer units in Florida. With a total of 70 members, the Youth Relations Bureau encompasses not only 47 certified law enforcement officers; it includes 20 school crossing guards, and three support staff. Together they work with a division of more than 100 deputies who provide support and assistance to the 48 public schools, 12 alternative school programs and 10 private and charter schools in Collier County.
“For more than 35 years we have forged a successful working relationship with students, teachers, administrators and parents in Collier County,” Sheriff Rambosk said. “The Youth Relations Bureau has proven to be a vital component in school safety and violence prevention.”
Collier County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton echoed the Sheriff’s s comments.
“The relationship between the school district and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is like no other and it even extends beyond the walls of our schools,” Dr. Patton said. “The CCSO programs that serve our students – ranging from the award-winning DARE program to the phenomenal Summerfest program – help make that bond even stronger.”
Dr. Patton went on to say, “I know of districts that have no officers in their schools whatsoever. What we do here in Collier County does indeed serve as a model for other districts and law enforcement agencies to follow. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to Sheriff Rambosk and his Youth Relations Bureau deputies for all they do to provide a safe and secure learning environment for our students and staff.”
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office Youth Relations Bureau boasts:
* 100 percent funding by the CCSO budget through the Collier County Board of Commissioners.
* community partnerships resulting in donations that support CCSO’s ambitious Summerfest program. These partnerships are vital to our annual Summerfest youth activities programs that affect more than 55,000 youth in Collier County.
* a model Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (DARE). Sheriff Rambosk serves on DARE America’s prestigious International Law Enforcement Advisory Board.
* summer, spring and winter activities for youth beyond the school year. Activities include a day camp for fifth-graders over spring break; Junior Deputy Day at the county fair, which draws more than 3,000 Collier fourth-graders; and Winterfest during winter break.
* Teen Driver Challenge program, which provides teen drivers with the knowledge and hands-on experience to reduce their chances of being involved in a crash.
* continuous improvement through classes and training with a focus on keeping school emergency incidents under control. For example, every YRB member attends active shooter training at least twice a year and has successfully completed Crisis Intervention Training, a 40-hour course sponsored by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
* community involvement through free events in partnership with outside entities such as Drug Free Collier and Safe and Healthy Kids Coalition.
* declines in juvenile crime and criminal prosecution of juveniles. A component of that success is the agency’s Civil Citation diversion program that keeps kids from having an arrest record and out of the juvenile justice system.
* award-winning deputies: Cpl. Sandra Sprenger was recently honored with the School Advocacy Safety Council’s 2014 National Exemplary Bullying Prevention Award.