Wise County Sheriff’s Office “Handle With Care” Program

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office is launching a new program aimed at helping school children who’ve experienced recent traumatic or crisis events. “Handle With Care” is a concept put in place that will connect the responding deputies on scene with the child’s School Resource Officer and Principal.
Deputies and dispatchers have all received training in “ACES” or Adverse Childhood Experiences through Frontier Health. Laura Gardner and Alex Enriquez are both prevention specialists and ACE Instructors through Frontier Health Prevention Services, and have confirmed that everyone at some point in time has had trauma or a crisis that could affect our daily lives and/or our ability to function normally.
How the program works is that when a deputy clears the scene, they will then contact Wise County Central Dispatch and simply state that they are requesting a “Handle With Care” case, providing only the child’s name and school. The dispatcher will then send an email to the child’s principal and School Resource Officer will make contact with the child’s teacher and/or guidance counselor to follow up with the child the next school day.
Lt. Brad Mullins, School Resource Officer at JW Adams Combined Elementary School stated, “The child may come to school and not have their homework and it could be a chronic situation. If the teacher knows that there may  be a trauma or crisis reoccurring in that child’s life then it can be addressed more appropriately rather than to just sent them to ISS to complete their homework.”
The goal of the program is to make positive contact with empathy and encouragement. Sheriff Ronnie Oakes wanted to implement this program, “To further protect our children who are our future. We feel this is a great program and requires little in the way of resources and is well worth the effort. Our school system is also very supportive of this program.”
“Handle With Care” situation could include, domestic violence, both physical or verbal, neglect, assault, house fire, vehicle crash, missing person, death of a loved one, bullying or any incident that is perceived by the deputy to cause trauma or crisis in that child’s life.
Greg Mullins, Superintendent of Wise County Schools advised that all principals, assistant principals and guidance counselors have recently completed the ACES training that equips them with how to handle trauma and crisis situation with students.

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