Polston introduces new school resource officers

From left, Salem Elementary School Resource Officer Ritchie Francioni, Russell County Sheriff Derek Polston, and Russell Springs Elementary School Resource Officer Nathan Ginn.

Russell County Sheriff Derek Polston has long said protecting the students of Russell County was one of his top priorities at the sheriff’s office, and part of his plan to do that is by placing a school resource officer in each school in the county.

That goal is closer to fruition, as Polston introduced two new school resource officers Monday night at the Russell County Board of Education meeting.

Polston said he thanked God first and foremost for the opportunities to be able to place school resource officers in the schools in Russell County.

“We’ve put God first in this department in everything we do and we’ve been blessed by that,” Polston said. “I believe Russell County has been blessed by having these two school resource officers placed into our schools.”

Polston also thanked Susan Melton, who played an important part in the grant writing process to fund the positions.

“When I was running my campaign, one of the things I said I wanted to do was put highly-trained resource officers in our schools and we’ve been able to do that, thanks to you all,” Polston told the board of education.

Nathan Ginn has been a deputy with the RCSO for three years patrolling the roads of the county, and while Polston said he hates taking Ginn off the road, Ginn expressed interest in becoming an SRO and Polston believes he is well-suited for the job. Ginn will be the SRO at Russell Springs Elementary.

“He’s one of my main backbones as a deputy and I hate to lose him off the road,” Polston said. “But he wants to give this a try and protecting our children is one of my main things.”

Ritchie Francioni retired from working in law enforcement in Florida for 26 years before moving to Kentucky and working for the Corbin Police Department and Liberty Police Department. In total, Francioni has nearly 33 years of experience in law enforcement.  Francioni will be the SRO at Salem Elementary.

“He has a lot of experience and a lot of training,” Polston said. “I wanted to make sure we had highly trained individuals in these positions.”

Polston said there is a lot that goes into the process of applying for grants to fund school resource officer positions, and he is continuing efforts to acquire funding to place an officer at Jamestown Elementary.


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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for LakerCountry.com and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.