Monday, April 22, 2002

Lakota school officer honored

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — Doug Hale has been dubbed “Deputy Donut” by the students and staff at Lakota East High School. The affectionate nickname for the 17-year veteran of the Butler County Sheriff's Office came because the deputy assists the school staff in the twice-weekly doughnut sale between first and second period.

        Principal Ruth Barber says that small action is indicative of Deputy Hale's immersion in the daily life of Lakota's students — both at East and the other Liberty Township schools he serves.

        And that's why she nominated Deputy Hale for the honor he'll receive in Columbus today: the 2002 Ohio Crime Prevention Association Partner in Education: School Resource Officer of the Year Award.. )

        In a letter of recommendation, Mrs. Barber called the deputy a counselor, adviser, mentor, and friend for students, parents and staff.

        “He (Deputy Hale) not only has the strength of character to deal with tough issues facing today's school resource officers, but he also has the ability to shift gears and work with those students with serious personal problems,” wrote Stu Eversole, athletic director for the district.

        “I'm not one for a lot of whistles and bells,” said Deputy Hale, 40, who has worked in Lakota Schools for seven years. “I'm tickled to death to get the award. I'm glad they think that much of me. I work with a lot of great people.”

        Senior Jamie Hart said she's known Deputy Hale since she moved to Liberty Township as a sixth-grader. Over the years, she has sought his advice and will miss him when she graduates.

        “He's been a really good friend,” said Ms. Hart, 18. “He always steers you in the right direction. He's always there when you need him. He's got a great sense of humor and takes everything in stride.”

        Not all officers are able to walk the fine line between confidante and authority figure, or have the temperament and skill to be a school resource officer, said Major Anthony Dwyer of the Butler County Sheriff's Office.

        “It takes a very special policeman to open himself up,” Maj. Dwyer said. “His demeanor is suited to that. He's phenomenal in that role. He really found his niche. We're really proud of Doug.”


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