Stillwater Public Schools is saying goodbye to a retiring school resource officer while welcoming not one but two new ones at Tuesday’s board of education meeting at the district office.
“Last year, we focused on ways we can upgrade our safety and security and one of those measures was adding a fourth SRO,” said Superintendent Marc Moore.
Officer Karrie Bales is retiring from the Stillwater Police Department after 20 years, including 17 as a school resource officer.
“We have such a close relationship with our SROs and the City of Stillwater,” Moore said. “We wanted to take the opportunity to recognize her for her accomplishments to the district and to our kids.”
Bales has led school resource officer training across the country for the National Association of School Resource Officers, which recognized Bales along with Officers Jeremy Hooten and Paul Blankinship as one of nine programs to earn the 2018 Model Agency Award.
“It is an honor to know you are up there among the best of the best SROs in the country,” Bales said last year.
The district’s school resource officer program started in 1999 as a partnership with the City of Stillwater, which employs the officers.
Hooten has been with SPD 16 years, nine as a school resource officer.
Blankinship has spent 27 years with SPD, including the past five as a school resource officer.
The two new school resource officers, Jared Noles and Justin Reedy – who are transitioning from patrol – have undergone school resource officer training and are learning the ropes from Bales, Hooten and Blankinship.
“They have definitely taken a lot of time and shown patience with us,” Noles said. “They say they have to take the patrol out of us.”
Noles, who has been with SPD seven years, is assigned to Stillwater Middle School and Sangre Ridge Elementary.
Reedy, who has been with SPS 17 years, is assigned to Lincoln Academy along with Westwood, Will Rogers and Highland Park elementaries. He will be based out of Will Rogers.
Hooten will serve Stillwater High School and Richmond Elementary and Blankinship will work at Stillwater Junior High and Skyline Elementary.
“I’m excited to be working with kids and getting them comfortable interacting with a police officer,” said Noles, who has three children and four foster children in the district.
Reedy is also looking forward to working with kids.
“I’m sure it is going to be challenging, but on the same hand it is going to be very rewarding,” he said.