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Prairie Heights resource officer provides added safety for students

Gaylon Wisel, the new school resource officer at Prairie Heights, has been an added benefit to the school system and students after starting in the new program this year.

When Prairie Heights began to look into a new resource officer program, they talked with Wisel and area sheriff’s departments for advice. After getting information, the school district formed its own police department, hiring Wisel earlier this spring.

Wisel has been a past school resource officer for 13 years and is currently the president of the Indiana State Resource Officer Association Board.

Some of the benefits to having a resource officer on the Prairie Heights campus have been the response time and the atmosphere. “He can be at any building in 90 seconds, which has cut down on the response time from the local departments,” said Assistant Superintendent Jeff Reed.

“It’s nice to have Mr. Wisel here when handling issues,” said Reed. “He brings a police presence to campus.”

 Wisel is making it a goal to get to know the students well by talking with them and investing in them. He wants to be someone that they can talk to.

“The biggest thing is learning their names and knowing them,” Wisel noted.

Wisel has the chance of talking with the students on the walk-throughs and during lunches. He also interacts with them as they are getting off of the buses in the morning and getting ready to go home in the afternoon.

“The elementary and middle school kids are drawn to him when they are getting off of the buses,” said Reed.

The students have had a chance to be involved in the resource officer program as students at the IMPACT vocational school installed the decals on Wisel’s vehicle.  

Looking ahead into next year, Reed and Wisel will be evaluating the safety plans and making updates and changes to best benefit the schools.

“He and the program are a great asset the school and the kids here,” Reed stated.

Wisel is also available and helping out with extracurricular activities such as prom and athletic events.

“I love coming to work every day,” said Wisel. “It is a very neat community.”