Roswell schools’ resource officer Helen Cheromiah is excited about the new school year that began this week.
“I love what I do,” she said.
The position of school resource officer was reinstated this year after being suspended three years ago, according to Roswell Police Chief Alfonso Solis.
“I have an ongoing relationship with (Superintendent Michael) Gottlieb and I asked him if we could put officers back in the schools,” Solis said.
“It’s very important to have a police presence in the schools,” said Solis. “With the start of the new school year, the schools’ budget has been cut and they must cut truancy officers.” He believes that Cheromiah will help make up the shortfall until the truancy officers can return.”
Cheromiah took Solis’ statement one step further. “The chief’s goal is to expand the presence of the police officer all around the city.”
Cheromiah said, “My job is first and foremost the safety and security of students and staff.”
She received special training from the National Association of School Resource Officers. Her training has enabled her to teach in a classroom setting. Cheromiah gives talks to students on DUI and DWI.
“I try to be pro-active in what I do. I am working the football, basketball and soccer games,” she said.
Her beat covers three high schools — Goddard, Roswell and University — two middle schools and the majority of the elementary schools. “I have an office at Goddard,” Cheromiah said.
“The sad thing is that we can only put one back. She’s (Cheromiah) very energetic and very conscientious, but she’s spread very thin,” said Solis.
Cheromiah is also responsible for taking crime reports at the schools, although she admitted that other officers continue to do standard patrols and to respond to calls as needed. “Having an officer there, I’m able to take over most the calls.”
She believes her presence provides a more consistent response. “It gives the staff one consistent person to deal with,” she said.
“It lets the parents know that one officer is available, which is a comfort to the parents,” said Cheromiah.
She also investigates crimes that take place on school property, but if the cases are involved, she will call in the Criminal Investigation Division.
Cheromiah wants to present a more friendly image of the police to the students. “They are not exposed to law enforcement officers, and often not in a positive way.”
She feels she’s developed a good rapport with many of the students. “Students approach me and ask for advice. We got a couple of applicants from the schools. We’ve hired some that we had as students. I have had several kids come up, even parents, to say “thank you for helping…”
Cheromiah utilizes all the schools at her disposal. “I use my police training, along with experience being a parent.”
Her goal is to help students become more productive citizens.
She said, “I love my job enough to do it no matter how many hours I have to do … It takes a village to raise a child. I am just another person in the village, another resource.”