Livingston County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert “RJ” Caskey is off to a busy start this school year, with visits throughout the week at both Livingston County Elementary Schools, as well as the middle school and high school. “We have already started the DARE Program classes at North and South and are starting our fourth week. We plan to extend the program this year and meet for twelve weeks. We have added some field trips for the students including a trip to the Sheriff’s Office to better understand what happens there, as well as visiting with county prosecutor Billy Riley, and then a trip to the Judicial Center to see the court system and learn more about how it works,” explained Caskey.
Caskey has also started a new program at Livingston County Middle School. “We have started an officers training club and we meet with them once a month. Our next meeting we will show them how we take fingerprints, how we read them and how to lift prints also. Each month they will get a first hand look at the elements of investigation and how they all work together. We will also give the club members a scenario for them to try to solve and to use what they have learned. At the end of the year, each member will be recognized and receive a certificate. Right now we have thirty-four students who have signed up at the middle school,” he added.
Caskey has started the year out at the high school discussing the legal drugs and the effects of both tobacco and alcohol have on individuals. “We will then expand and discuss meth and crystal meth, cocaine and other illegal drugs and the harmful effects, as an awareness program. We will be sharing photographs and videos of how this affects the body and how it changes the body over a short period of time, to help them realize that these are very dangerous things to put into their system. We want the students to realize that we will not tolerate any of it in the schools,” Caskey shared.
Caskey doesn’t go into the schools to walk around and “police” the halls and classrooms. He is there to teach, to council and has even worked some cases and has already summoned one high school student to court. “We work hand in hand with each school and for the most part they will take care of any problem that arises. If it is a criminal matter, then the Sheriff’s Office will take care of it” added Caskey.
He can be at any of the schools within fifteen minutes but his main office is at the high school where he starts each morning sitting in the grass at the entrance of the school, reminding all drivers of the reduced speed within the school zone. “I get there about seven each morning and I had to pull over a car last week that was speeding through our school zone. We are reminding the students and all drivers coming in and out of the high school that the speed limit is fifteen miles per hour on the driveway and parking lot and of course they must be wearing their seat belts,” he added.
“We want the kids to be safe. We want them to know they have someone they can come talk to because we are not just a police officer, we can also be there friend and we want to help them any way we can. During the school year we plan to have each officer in the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office come in to each school and be introduced to the students and staff, so they become familiar with them and will know them if they ever need their help. We have already had to address six different situations of bullying and we will deal with it in any of the schools and help get it under control. Many kids don’t understand that what they are doing is bullying. The difference between teasing and bullying can be hard to distinguish but it can be controlled. The staff in the schools in Livingston County is the best school staff I have ever worked with – we just seem to click and work together so well,” explained Officer Caskey.