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Joshua Stockman: Officer serves as resource for Eugene schools

Joshua Stockman: Officer serves as resource for Eugene schools

November 3rd, 2013 in News

Cole County R-5 School Resource Officer Joshua Stockman leads weekly DARE classes for sixth-graders in Eugene.

Photo by Michelle Brooks

It's not the DARE adults today may remember.

Cole County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Stockman applied for the Cole County R-5 school resource officer position because he wanted to help people and "I have a naturally bubbly personality," he said.

But the curriculum and training he gained from DARE school last month little resembled what he remembered from his own elementary days at St. Joseph Cathedral School.

"It's a different train of thought, we connect at a different level," Stockman said. "It was what was needed."

The initial "Just Say No" model was more mechanical and vocabulary-based.

In Kelly Haney and Shanna McCoy's sixth-grade Eugene classrooms this fall, Stockman is implementing more interactive lessons with more attention to good decision-making skills.

"The program recognized that kids are maturing and they're more inquisitive as to the whys," Stockman said. "They are interested in making their own decisions.

"The kids are more receptive because it gives them more power."

The DARE lessons equip the students with facts and relevant scenarios.

But Stockman has found he must stay well-informed to answer some of the questions today's student might ask.

For example, instead of the traditional "why are drugs bad?" question, he received the question "why is medical marijuana bad?"

"I never know what may come up; I make a personal investment to better prepare myself," he said.

The DARE course is only one of several roles Stockman fills at the Eugene school, where he works with toddlers through high school seniors.

"I love the elementary end; you are a superhero to all those kids," he said.

His full-time presence also acts as a deterrent.

More often, he finds himself in the role of counselor, the third of the three legs of the SRO - law enforcement, teacher and counselor.

"I never realized a school resource officer was just that, a resource for the school; I just happen to be an officer," Stockman said.

One of the keys to his presence within the rural school is to develop relationships.

His outgoing personality and willingness to communicate have helped so far.

"The biggest part of being an SRO is being honest," he said.

What he did not expect was camaraderie with faculty, parents and the community.

"They've got your back; it's incredible," Stockman said.

The Helias Catholic High School alumnus' uncle and neighbor were law enforcement officers while he was growing up.

"I saw the lights and sirens; it definitely piqued my interest," he said.

During his seven years with the sheriff's department and another with the city of Holts Summit, Stockman recorded some significant achievements and was involved in some high-profile arrests.

"I love driving fast with the lights on or responding to an out-of-control situation," Stockman said. "But you don't experience the feelings you get when you make a difference in someone's life."