National school policing organization honors officers, agencies and educators

Published Thursday, June 28, 2018 by Jay Farlow

June 28, 2018 – RENO, Nev. – The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) this evening presented its Chief Nicholas C. Derzis Safe Schools Leadership Award to five recipients from around the U.S. This award recognizes individuals for their contributions and dedication to a school resource officer (SRO) program and the many children, parents and faculty members of their communities and schools. This year’s recipients are:

  • Michelle Richardson, teacher/administrator, North Knox School Corporation, Bicknell, Indiana, who protected students by immediately evacuating them after receiving word from responding police that a person who had made threats to her school was en route and a short distance away.
  • Crit Caton, superintendent, Artesia Public Schools, Artesia, New Mexico, who led a $3.2 million project to remodel all district schools to enhance security, using crime prevention through environmental design concepts. The project included the installation a new key system, wireless card access control system and other security technology.
  • Ian Moffett, chief, Miami-Dade Schools Police Department, Miami, whose agency implemented a police explorer program that helps reduce delinquency and build relationships. In addition, middle school and high school students are taught basic law enforcement training and procedures with an emphasis on leadership and community outreach.
  • Joseph Kozarian, director of school police and facilities, Brentwood Borough School District, Pittsburgh, who successfully advocated for secured vestibules for all the district’s school buildings and for an increase in the number of SROs. He also led active shooter and hemorrhage control training for students and staff.
  • Marilyn Lewis, prevention and support services coordinator, Alabama State Department of Education, Montgomery, Alabama, who strongly supports the placement of carefully selected, specially trained SROs in all of her state’s schools, helped her state’s educators understand the essential role that safety plays in students’ ability to learn, and advocated for mandatory NASRO training for SROs in her state.

NASRO and the National Road Safety Foundation bestowed the annual Innovation in the Classroom Award on Officer Tom Sloan, Round Rock Police Department, Round Rock, Texas. This award is presented for innovations in the classroom that educate young people about traffic safety. Sloan was selected for creating an innovative, biweekly, fun and easy-to-digest social media video series called “Tom’s Traffic Tips.” The series — which can be seen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube — averages 5,400 views per episode and has attracted a large teen viewership.

NASRO presented its Regional Exceptional Service Award to seven SROs. This award recognizes continuous and sustained service to the school community above and beyond that normally expected of an SRO. This year’s recipients are:

  • Officer Frank Gnas, Northern Lehigh School District, Slatington, Pennsylvania.
  • Officer Tamara Ray, Baltimore County Police Department, Baltimore.
  • Officer Cory Spencer, Lake Area Police, Lindstrom, Minnesota.
  • Thomas Woodall, Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, Wentworth, North Carolina.
  • Officer Ed Povirk, Scott Township Police, Pittsburgh.
  • Officer Nancy Leedberg, Brockton Police Department, Brockton, Massachusetts.
  • Officer Charles Dapolite, Westborough Police Department, Westborough, Massachusetts.

In addition, NASRO recognized nine law enforcement agencies with its Model SRO Agency Award for exemplifying in their training, policies and standards the NASRO triad concept. The triad describes an SRO’s role as mentor, guest lecturer and law enforcement officer. Model agencies also demonstrate creative and innovative approaches to school-based policing. NASRO’s 2018 model agencies are:

  • Portland Police Bureau Youth Services Division, Portland, Oregon.
  • Stillwater Police Department, Stillwater, Oklahoma.
  • Cheyenne Police Department, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
  • Goodyear Police Department, Goodyear, Arizona.
  • Maui Police Department, Wailuku, Hawaii.
  • Salisbury Township Police Department, Allentown, Pennsylvania.
  • Ringgold School District Police Department, Monogahela, Pennsylvania.
  • Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Fargo, North Dakota.
  • Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Leesburg, Virginia.

NASRO presented the above awards during a dinner ceremony this evening at its annual national School Safety Conference, which this year occurred in Reno.


NASRO is a nonprofit organization for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators, and school security and safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff, and the schools they attend. NASRO is located in Hoover, Alabama, and it was established in 1991. For more information, visit www.nasro.org.

Media Contact:

Jay Farlow
Jani Spede Public Relations
(866) 923-9980 ext. 2