Josh Hemsworth has been hired as the new School Resource Officer serving the students, staff and families of Nay Ah Shing schools.
Josh is relatively new to law enforcement, but he comes to the Tribal Police Department with a strong background in mental health and work in the school setting, making him a perfect fit as a police liaison in the schools.
“My job will be to maintain an environment that promotes safety for students, faculty and staff,” said Josh. “I’ll be a liaison between the police department, the schools and the community, and a go-to person if students are experiencing problems of a criminal nature. As a school resource officer, you have an ability to develop a rapport with students in ways that other cops don’t. You’re there every day as a part of that environment, so you can gain trust and be there for them to express concerns and ask for help.”
Josh began his career in a state-run mental health facility in Brainerd before starting school at Central Lakes College. He continued his studies in the Twin Cities and moved home to start a family while working in the mental health field and the public schools as a behavior intervention specialist and mental health practitioner.
Eventually he determined that a career in law enforcement would allow him to help people and build on his experiences. He went back to school at CLC for his Criminal Justice Certificate and Law Enforcement Skills training and worked for the city of Lakeshore before taking the position with the Band.
“The Band had a need for a school resource officer, and I was a good fit because of my experience working in the high school setting and in the mental health field with people diagnosed with mental illness and developmental disabilities, addiction issues, as well as kids deemed ‘at risk’,” Josh said.
Since starting in July, he’s been going through training as a Tribal Police officer in District I and District III, and he’s doing additional shadowing and training for his role in the schools.
Like most school resource officers, he’ll also continue to patrol the community and respond to calls as needed, in addition to working to reduce truancy and develop relationships between the schools, the police and the community. His start date at Nay Ah Shing has not been determined, but it won’t be long before District I families see him as part of the team at the schools, and Josh is looking forward to the day.
“I’ve got a heart for people — that’s the bottom line” said Josh. “I definitely want to make an impact, and one of the most effective ways to do that is with the up-and-coming generation, to help demonstrate that staying in school is not just the right thing to do, but that it will have a positive effect on your future.”