In response to two missing burglary subjects in Milford on the morning of Wednesday, September 11, Milford Central Academy and Milford High School locked down their campuses from 8:45 to 11:45am. As a precaution, School Resource Officer Joey Melvin helped lead a successful strategy to keep students safe in preparation of an emergency situation. There were no direct threats to the school and classes were assumed as usual as students were able to attend all classes throughout the day.
After five years of preparing students, parents, teachers and administrations for emergency situations, Officer Melvin will be continuing his commitment to school safety in a different role as Management Analysis under the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security. He will be assisting the implementation of comprehensive emergency plans in school districts throughout the State of Delaware. These comprehensive school plans were made mandatory as Governor Jack Markell signed Senate Bill 233, the Omnibus School Safety Act, into law in September of 2012. In his new role, Officer Melvin will be analyzing and evaluating emergency school procedures across the state of Delaware and training teachers and administrators how to prepare and implement each plan.
“This opportunity is very exciting,’ commented Office Melvin. “I have a huge passion for school safety and when I heard about the opportunity to implement emergency plans at a state level I knew I had to pursue that option.”
In addition to preparing schools in the Milford School District for emergency situations, Officer Melvin has redefined the title of School Resource Officer by reaching the students on a personal level. Joey always went above the call of duty, acting as a mentor and support system for many children that could not find a positive role model in other areas of their lives. This desire to guide students, originated from his own determination after his father’s death to seek out mentors in his own life at the age of fourteen.
“Those mentors had a huge impact on my life and I know the importance of that relationship,” commented Melvin. “I owe it to these kids to try and help them. I do not want to be there to pick a kid up, I want to keep them from falling.”
Officer Melvin has worked in the Milford School District developing programs to teach students about cyberbullying, smart decision making and is also involved in the Milford Motivation Mentoring Program. Some point to his effect on the student population as a catalyst for the hiring of three additional School Resource Officers by the Milford School Board of Education. School officials agree that his interaction among students at school has resolved several problems in school and in the community before they even began.
“Joey is such an asset to the Milford School District,” stated Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel. “If you watch him communicate with the kids it’s unbelievable. He has built such a great relationship with the students while keeping his pulse on the community.”
Although the Milford Police Department is disappointed to hear that Office Melvin will be leaving the force, the department acknowledges the great opportunity that the new position holds for Melvin and wishes him the best.
“We are well aware of the relationship Officer Melvin had with the school staff and that the students and parents trusted and respected him,” stated Milford Police Chief Keith Hudson. “Joey’s interaction with kids and adults alike have had such a positive impact. Police are most often involved in the negative aspects of everyday life, but his presence has changed the stereotype image that a lot of students had of cops. Being able to work with kids to prevent them from getting in trouble is a gift. Most likely the only contact a lot of students had with a police officer was after a crime had been committed.”
Chief Hudson assures the public that School Resource Officer Melvin will be replaced with an experienced and dedicated officer. Milford school officials are working with the Milford Police Department to fill the position. The Milford School Board of Education believes so strongly about the benefits of the School Resource Officer program that they have already planned to fund additional officers to handle the security of their six schools.
“It will be bittersweet to leave Milford,” commented Melvin. “With all of the growth that Milford has experienced, Milford has really strived to hold on to the sense of community. It has been a very rewarding experience working in this town.”