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BETHLEHEM—Chad Rice, who has served as the Bethlehem Central High School’s School Resource Officer for more than a decade, will be leaving to take another position within the department next year.
During the last Board of Education meeting of the 2017-18 school year on Wednesday, June 20, BCHS Principal David Doemel said a few words in appreciation of the work that Rice has done with the district over the years.
“We are very lucky and blessed to have such a great relationship with our local police department. When talking to administrators in other districts, I can assure you that our partnership is unique,” said Doemel. “My number one priority as building principal is the safety of everyone in the building; having a dedicated school resource officer is a tremendous benefit. The advantage of having an SRO is not about having a police presence, it is more about who that person is and the interpersonal skills they possess. Chad has done more behind the scenes with our families, students and staff than anyone would know.”
“You guys are truly unbelievable. I’m honored to work in this school building and in this district,” Rice told district administrators. “I also want to thank my police department for giving me the opportunity to be here.” He agreed that the relationship his office has with Bethlehem CSD surpasses many of those in other districts.
“The partnership of BCSD and the Bethlehem Police Department is second to none,” said BPD Commander Adam Hornick. “Due to our long standing commitment to the program and for being a model agency in the state for the SRO program, as one of the first.”
An SRO is a law enforcement officer responsible for safety and crime prevention in schools. SROs are typically employed by a local police or sheriff’s department and work with administrators to create a safer environment for students and staff. SROs have the ability to make arrests, respond to calls for service and document incidents. They are also typically expected to act as counselors and mentor students, as well as provide education on youth-related issues.
“The purpose of us is always to educate kids,” Rice said. “It’s not about arrests, it’s not about probation or anything like that. It’s about teaching the kids and making sure they learn from it and can move on in their life.”
“Detective Rice has done a tremendous job in working with the school district and the youth of our community,” said Hornick. “He has helped foster the great relationship that our agency shares with the BCSD. His experience and institutional knowledge has been a great asset to both our agency and the school district, as we have seen the transformation of the SRO position given the current climate for the necessity of school safety due to societal changes. Detective Rice will be an asset to our detective bureau due to his diverse knowledge, skill set and dedication to the agency and community that he serves.”
Detective Ken Beck, who has been a member of the Family Services Unit since 2013, will replace Detective Rice as the SRO at BCHS. Beck is a certified juvenile officer and has worked as the agency’s DARE instructor, as well as provided support for the SROs at both the middle and the high school. “He is well known in the school community and this will help make for a smooth transition,” said Hornick.