The Athens County Sheriff’s Office has added a new school resource officer to its team.
Deputy Kevin Lemon is the new school resource officer for Trimble Local School District, serving the junior high and elementary school, which is one building along with the high school.
Deputy Lemon’s current hourly rate is $17.97, with an overtime rate of $26.96, Makina Milum, Athens County Sheriff’s Office fiscal officer, said.
Lemon has been in law enforcement for close to 10 years, previously being employed at the Gloucester Police Department and most recently as a deputy in Morgan County.
For Lemon, getting a job in Trimble Township feels like coming back home.
“I live right here in Trimble Township, so graciously, the sheriff's office offered me a position here,” Lemon said.
As a school resource officer, Lemon provides security and ensures safety at the schools.
Being in a school, however, also limits what Lemon can do as an officer. While Lemon is still a police officer, he can only deal with criminal issues at the schools, he said. For those issues, he also has to collaborate with the schools.
Lemon is glad to have the opportunity to work further with the community and schools.
“I'm glad to be over here. I know a lot of people. There's a lot of good people in this community,” Lemon said. “I'm glad to come over here to be able to protect the children … I still live in the community, and I'm glad to be a part of it.”
To become a school resource officer in Athens County, the general hiring process for a deputy applies, Sheriff Rodney Smith said.
That includes various processes, such as testing of general law enforcement knowledge, graded interview processes, a spelling test and also the requirement of being a certified police officer.
A second round of interviews with narrowed-down candidates are then conducted. After the second round, a criminal background check, self credit check and physical agility test are included in the next steps.
Then, a conditional job offer can be made, Smith said.
School resource officers are also expected to make a positive impact on the community.
“We (look) for somebody that's really a people person, more than, I guess, just the average road officer. So we want that special person that’s going to be able to pull that off and relate to the kids and set that good example,” Smith said. “What we try to sell to not only the schools, but the public, (is that) it's not us against them. We're here for a mission to try to make our community safer.”