By LISA M. REED
FELCH - The Dickinson County Sheriff's Office has opened a remote office at North Dickinson County School.
Lisa M. Reed/The Daily News Photo
Dickinson County Sheriff Scott Celello talks about the new sheriff’s department office at North Dickinson County School with Superintendent Angel Inglese.
After reading a magazine article about police officers sitting in parking lots to do their reports, staff at North Dickinson County School decided to take it one step further and invite the sheriff's department to be housed in the school building.
Dickinson County Sheriff Scott Celello said when the school staff contacted him about the idea, he was pleasantly surprised. His staff was also on board with it.
So school staff voluntarily remodeled the former in-school suspension/detention room into a sheriff's department office.
Deputies assigned to cover North Dickinson will utilize the office to do reports, meet with residents, have access to the telephone, walk the school hallways, have a presence in the school, and interact with students.
"I also see myself coming up here a couple times a month if they have issues or just to stop by and say hi," Sheriff Celello said.
He added the first contact children usually have with law enforcement is negative.
"If we develop a rapport with students and if there is an issue, they will feel more comfortable talking about it," Celello said.
The remote office is not just for students and staff of North Dickinson County School, but for residents of the northern portion of the county.
Deputies are encouraged to park in front of the school building, so their presence is known.
Office restrictions include no sex offender registrations and no interviews of an ongoing criminal investigation. Those must be done at the main office.
To reach the remote office, call the school at (906) 542-9281 and ask for the sheriff's department or call the sheriff's department main office at (906) 774-6262 to set up an appointment.
North Dickinson County School Superintendent Angel Inglese said students are excited about the sheriff's department presence in the school.
"It's nice for students, and they have been making use of it," she said.
Inglese added that the sheriff has talked to the high school government class, and has plans to talk with the careers class next year.
"It gives us that opportunity," she said.
Celello said he anticipates that next school year, teachers will take advantage of the sheriff's deputies in the school and being available to talk with students.
The sheriff's department will also have more of a presence at sporting events.
Celello was to hand out high school diplomas for the graduating Class of 2013 on Friday.
The office was remodeled after spring break and has been utilized since.
Office hours will be set within the next month.
Lisa M. Reed's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.