CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been about two months since Chesapeake Sheriff’s deputies started serving as school resource officers in elementary schools.
The city’s School Board voted to add armed security to elementary schools this year following the Richneck Elementary School shooting.
Deputies say it’s a joy to be around the kids and an honor to keep them safe.
They say all it takes is a friendly smile, some high fives, and it might even take a little bit of magic too!
The kids at Great Bridge Primary School were very impressed by Undersheriff David Rosado’s magic tricks. He puts on a show to help stop bullying in schools.
Rosado takes his show on the road to different elementary schools in the area teaching kids to be a hero, not a zero, a message deputies are working to get across in schools too.
“They’re here everyday interacting, so the message I have, they can extend that throughout the school year,” Rosado said.
Right now, there’s eight Chesapeake Sheriff’s deputies working with elementary schools across the district along with their supervisor, Sgt. Jason Pruitt. They greet students, like Lilly Kiskinis, in the morning and interact with them throughout the day.
“I give them a high five,” Lilly said.
“They have the opportunity to go to lunch, sit and have lunch, build relationships, go out on the playground, PE, art class, drawing portraits,” said Sgt. Jason Pruitt.
Deputy Kimberly Lawrence said it makes her feel wonderful to know students can approach her and feel comfortable.
“They always ask me (if) have I arrested anybody, you know, what do you do, and I just tell them I do my job and make sure everyone is safe,” Lawrence said.
The Chesapeake Police Department provides SRO’s for middle and high schools — and deputies serve elementary students.
“We are able to fill that void with the best of the best deputies that we have and these deputies are trained,” Rosado said. “They’re dual certified with (the) sheriff’s office and police academy and of course, going to SRO school.”
When Noelle Pennington was asked what she liked about the deputies being in her school, she replied, “They help us.”
Even though it may seem excessive to need armed security in an elementary school, Rosado said you never know.
“It’s not if it’s going to happen, it’s when it’s going to happen, so we want to be prepared,” Rosado said.
Putting on that cape everyday to keep students safe.
“You feel like a superhero in the school,” Pruitt said. “The kids love you.”
And who knows, maybe someday, they’ll want to grow up to be a superhero too.
“I have a lot of kids always say, ‘I want to be a police officer when I grow up,’ so that just brings me joy,” Lawrence said.
Deputies said they love taking advantage of every opportunity they can to interact with students and the community.
In fact, there’s even an event coming up at the end of the month.
It’s Rosado’s Tricks and Treats Event. It’s happening from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday Oct. 28 at the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office Admin Building at 401 Ablemarle Drive.
You can see his magic show in full and play games and even participate in a trunk or treat.