When Cpl. Luke Arnold showed off his dance moves in a student video, the well liked Youth Relations Deputy saw his popularity soar at Barron Collier High School. The video has been shared hundreds of times over social media.
Though he had never danced to “Hit the Quan” before, Cpl. Arnold jumped in full uniform and performed the latest trending dance craze.
But Cpl. Arnold does more than dance. What he is really passionate about is his position as a Youth Relations Deputy with the Collier County Sheriff ’s Office. His passion is shared by the dozens of deputies in the CCSO Youth Relations Bureau committed to keeping Collier County Public Schools safe.
“All of the Youth Relations deputies who are working in the schools have a special cohesiveness in interacting with the kids and parents and school staff,” said Cpl. Arnold, who taught special education in Collier County Public Schools for 12 years before switching to a career in law enforcement and joining CCSO.
The passion brought by the deputies helped the CCSO Youth Relations Bureau to earn the title of “Agency of the Year for 2015” by the Florida Association of School Resource Officers (FASRO).
It’s the latest in a string of honors recently received by the Youth Relations Bureau. The Bureau was recognized as one of NASRO’s Model Agencies in 2014. Cpl. Ken Vila, who has spent his entire law enforcement career in the Youth Relations Bureau, was named “D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year” for Florida and the nation for 2015.
Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk has helped grow the Youth Relations Bureau into one of the largest and most qualified school resource officer units in Florida. As the Bureau has grown, it has integrated new and innovative ideas and programs to further its effectiveness. This includes incorporating Segway patrollers for quick and efficient access to various parts of our campuses and Summerfest, CCSO’s most ambitious youth activities program ever, which offers free activities to young people while fostering relationships with law enforcement when school is not in session.
Providing school resource officers in Collier schools has been a part of the CCSO mission for nearly four decades. The Youth Relations Bureau remains solely funded by CCSO with no monetary assistance from the Collier County Public Schools District.
“For more than 38 years we have forged a successful working relationship with students, teachers, administrators and parents in Collier County,” Sheriff Rambosk said. “The Youth Relations Bureau has proven to be a vital component of school safety and violence prevention.”
Collier County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton echoed the Sheriff ’s comments.
“The relationship between the School District and the Collier County Sheriff ’s Office is like no other and it even extends beyond the walls of our schools,” Dr. Patton said.
CCSO programs that serve local students, ranging from the award winning D.A.R.E. program to Summerfest, strengthen that bond, she said.
“I know of districts that have no officers in their schools whatsoever,” said Dr. Patton. “What we do here in Collier County does indeed serve as a model for other districts and law enforcement agencies to follow. “In Collier, every public school is assigned a Youth Relations Deputy and every school has a Youth Relations deputy present on campus daily. These deputies are part of the school culture and environment. They are well known by their student body and staff; they are part of the team.
CCSO youth relations deputies are not only keeping school campuses safe, they are mentoring and educating children in a variety of ways. Through their passion and drive, this special group of deputies is investing in local youth and the community. Keeping 45,000 students, 3,200 teachers and administrators, over 800 support staff, 8,370 volunteers and mentors, and numerous parents safe and involved is quite a feat, but the Youth Relations Bureau is succeeding.