Streetsboro D.A.R.E. Officer Jason Fogleman dropped in to visit Debbie D’Amico’s fifth-grade class at Henry Defer Intermediate School last week.
Streetsboro Police Officer Jason Fogleman isn’t looking for awards and recognition.
But they’ve found him.
Fogleman, Streetsboro School District’s school resource officer, has been named D.A.R.E. — Drug Abuse Resistance Education — Officer of the Year.
The honor doesn’t surprise Police Chief Darin Powers, who nominated Fogleman for the award, noting that the officer has done much more than teach D.A.R.E.’s curriculum each year to the district’s fifth-graders attending Henry Defer Intermediate School.
“Officer Fogleman has those unique traits that make him an effective police officer who can work with kids from kindergarten up to seniors in high school,” Powers said. “I have personally had the opportunity to see how the students trust him and interact with him as an advisor and confidant.”
As the school resource officer, Fogleman serves as a liaison and the public face of the police department to more than 2,000 students in the district.
Walking through the halls at Henry Defer Intermediate School on Tuesday, Fogleman was greeted by teachers and students alike. During a visit to Debbie D’Amico’s fifth-grade class, students eagerly shared some of their summer plans with Fogleman.
Fogleman forges relationships with fifth-graders during the D.A.R.E. program and maintains them through middle school and high school.
“He remembers the kids by name, and he makes them feel special,” said Lindsay Zenker, assistant principal at Henry Defer, adding that he may know them better than she does.
She also said he attends community and school events, providing a link to the police department for students and community members alike.
“Every time we have a school event, when it’s a family event, Jason is always there,” she said. “He always shows up, always shows his support throughout the entire year.”
While his D.A.R.E. program includes information about drugs and alcohol, Fogleman said he teaches students to make good decisions in a variety of areas, teaching them ultimately to be better citizens.
“We talk about self-esteem and self-confidence level with kids,” he said. “If we can make kids better decision makers, the other stuff that comes with growing up comes easier.”
Some of the issues students face include bullying, both in person and on social media, as well as drugs and alcohol. Fogleman said he tries to focus on helping students correct their problems rather than focus on the punishment.
“If students do make the wrong choice, it’s becomes a matter of how they redeem themselves and make the right choice the next time,” he said.
One of the biggest challenges to his duties as school resource officer is combating bullying on social media.
“If there’s a physical problem at the upper levels of school, it usually started online,” he said.
In addition to providing students a source of guidance and the police department an effective ambassador to the community, Fogleman said he also provides security for the district, but an aspect of his job that doesn’t typically take up a great deal of time. A lot of what it entails is being aware of his surroundings.
“Part of providing security is that if you see something changing, you’re going to be aware enough to head it off before it happens,” he said, adding many people have the misconception that providing security is the primary part of his job.
Powers said the impact Fogleman has on the community can’t be overemphasized.
“In this era of social media, school violence, bullying and all the other issues that affect our kids in the schools, having an officer so dedicated to his role as D.A.R.E. officer and SRO is vital,” Powers said. “Sometimes, the impact a police officer in our schools can have on our kids can easily be overlooked, but it’s clear to me that our schools and community are safer, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Officer Fogleman.”
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