Keeping Your Children Safe

School Resource Officer (SRO) John Vickery, with the Le Mars Police Department joined Gehlen Catholic’s faculty and staff in August of 2019.

Officer Vickery serves the school in two capacities.  First, his role as a law enforcement officer includes ensuring the school’s safety.  Officer Vickery’s role includes assessing the school’s safety during the day, as well as assisting with administrator’s requests for various events including Homecoming, sporting events, & activities. 

Officer Vickery’s other role is “teacher,” which is one of the highlights of his job. 

Since the start of the school year, Officer Vickery has conducted ALICE training with the elementary, junior & senior high schools students (see below). 

Officer Vickery has addressed bicycle safety and stranger danger.  Mrs. Ashley Langel will be working with Officer Vickery later this fall and spring to speak to her Anatomy and Health classes.  Mrs. Langel would like him to educate the students on drugs and their interactions with muscles, vision and response of the body. She also would like him to talk more about vaping, mental health issues, drug and driving interactions.  Teachers and administrators have also expressed interest in having Officer Vickery address bullying prevention, medication safety at home, and trick or treating safety.

The Le Mars Police Department has been working on the vaping program, as well as internet safety, just to name a few.  Officer Vickery stated, “After researching various programs requested by the teachers, we tailor each presentation accordingly.”  In developing the lessons, Officer Vickery looks at the students’ ages.  For example, the words “active shooters” used with adults are customized to a “dangerous someone” for young learners. 

During the preschooler’s Community Helpers Unit, Mrs. Ali Bickford, asked Officer Vickery to teach the 4-year olds about “Stranger Danger.”  She said, “The students asked lots of questions about ‘bad guys’.   The preschoolers loved having Officer Vickery come into our classroom.” 

One of the most important lessons Officer Vickery wants not only the students, faculty, & staff to learn, but the parents & community at large is “If you see something, say something…no matter how big or small!”

Officer Vickery said many people assume someone else will contact law enforcement.  Often times, no one does.  Officer Vickery stated it takes longer for concerns to be addressed if law enforcement is not notified.  He confirmed the anonymity of the individual contacting the police is always protected. 

SRO, John Vickery, provided ALICE training to the junior high students.

SRO John Vickery handed out treats during the Le Mars Chamber's Halloween festivities to one of his "fans"!

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