Each and every day, the women and men of the Kingsport Police Department go the extra mile to serve and protect the children and staff of Kingsport City Schools. Whether on the streets, patrolling the exterior of our school campuses, or walking through our school buildings on a daily basis, these officers are a key supportive resource that help ensure the safest possible school environment.
On Wednesday, November 1st, KCS paused to celebrate these heroes during the 2nd annual “KCS Back the Blue” day. Special recognitions took place throughout the day as the officers and staff of the KPD took a much deserved turn in the spotlight. While all are greatly appreciated, four officers in particular hold a special place in the hearts of KCS students and staff. The KCS School Resource Officers serve full-time in KCS schools, adding a vital layer of safety and security to the learning environment.
In this week’s Saturday Six, let’s take a look at the four KCS School Resource Officers and highlight the great work they do for KCS!
- Through a partnership with the Kingsport Police Department, four SROs serve in KCS schools. Two officers work at Dobyns-Bennett High School, with an additional officer placed at both Sevier and Robinson Middle Schools. All four of these officers also support other KCS schools as needed. Let’s meet the great team that serves as the KCS School Resource Officers!
- John Sevier Middle School SRO Brad Conkin is a 31 year-old Kingsport native, graduating from Sullivan South High School in 2005 and then attending Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. He graduated from Tennessee Tech in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries. After college, he worked for the Tennessee State Parks before joining the police force in 2010. He first worked as a patrolman with the Kingsport Police Department and was chosen to become the School Resource Officer at John Sevier Middle School in 2014.While working as a patrolman, Conkin began to be drawn to the schools through walk-through patrols. Once experiencing those walk-throughs, he felt strongly that service inside of a school is what he was meant to do. When chosen for the role as SRO at Sevier, he states that, “I truly knew then why I became a police officer… It is the most rewarding job because I go from leaving my house in the mornings as a farther of two to walking in the school and becoming a father of 850+ for the day. We can smile, laugh, cry and dance together while still learning. I know that when parents drop off their kids every morning, they expect a great education and safety. If I instill a little comfort in parents’ minds for the eight hours a day their kids are here, I feel my job is complete.”
- Dobyns-Bennett SRO Sean Cornett was born and raised in Kingsport, graduating from D-B in 1991. Following graduation, Officer Cornett worked at Eastman as a chemical operator until 2004. He then started his tenure with KPD, shifting to the role of an SRO in 2008. After a short transition to other roles with the KPD, he returned to SRO duties in 2015.
Officer Cornett also serves as a Field Training Officer and an Advanced Collision Investigator, holding numerous certifications with KPD. He has twin sons that attended KCS and are now in college. When not serving the students and staff at D-B, he enjoys working on vehicles, computers, and weight lifting.
- Officer Rick Marshall has served as a School Resource Officer for 12 years and is a vital component of the safety team at Ross N. Robinson Middle School. He takes an active role in developing relationships with students and staff, focusing on both safety and doing whatever possible to help each child succeed. This individualized approach to students has become a hallmark of Officer Marshall’s work and is widely recognized as one of his strengths as a leader and an officer.
Officer Marshall has often commented how humbling it is to know that students, staff, parents and community rely on the School Resource Officer to provide a safe and positive learning environment. He is willing to do whatever is needed to make sure every student returns home safely at the end of each day. He places emphasis on helping children accomplish their goals and watching them progress in life and in their education. Through his actions, Officer Marshall has helped many students move forward positively in their lives!
- Officer Mark Smelser is the newest KCS School Resource Officer, beginning his tenure at Dobyns-Bennett in 2017. Another former KCS graduate, his personality and connection with students have made an instant positive impact on the culture and security of D-B. While a student at D-B, Officer Smelser was a varsity soccer player and continued to develop those skills while attending Maryville College, where he graduated in 1991.
Officer Smelser has served with the Kingsport Police Department for five years and brings a high level of energy and enthusiasm to his work each day. Knowing he wanted to be a police officer since the age of 5, he is fulfilling his lifelong dream by interacting with students at his alma mater and doing all he can to ensure their well-being. He has three children, ranging in age from 11 to 20. An accomplished athlete, Officer Smelser runs an average of 40+ miles per week, having completed eight marathons, participating in the prestigious Boston Marathon three times.
- Have you seen the WeAreKCS Video Blog highlighting the KCS SRO program and officers? It’s a great review of the program and provides insight on the purpose and benefits to having such qualified safety officers in our schools each day.
Next week in the Saturday Six: We’ll take a look at an innovative program designed to support and encourage community service. It’s “Charity Month” throughout KCS and we’ll learn more about it next week!