Deputy Acts as Protector, Mentor to Mt. View Students
Fourteen years ago 12 students and one teacher were killed in a shooting at a high school in Colorado. Nearly nine months ago, 20 children and 6 adults were shot to death inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Schools in Maine are stepping up safety measure to try and minimize the risk of tragedies happening here. When Deputy Nick Oettinger gets ready for work, he grabs his essential equipment. ” I have my side arm, spare ammunition, I have my OC spray, and also a tazer,” explained Oettinger. He’s trained and ready for whatever could happen. ” Anything from a dangerous person showing up on site, to other safety functions,” said Oettinger. Where he works, he’s known as Officer Nick. ” I know if anybody is in trouble or if I’m in trouble I can just go right to him,” said Courtney Morse, a senior at Mt. View High School. Oettinger is the School Resource Officer, or SRO, for Mt. View schools. ” My primary responsibility here is safety of all staff and all students and that includes Mt. View facility and the five outlying schools,” explained Oettinger. He has a gun which had some people worried at first. ” As events unfolded across the country and bad things were happening at schools and in other locations, I think people started warming up to it a little bit,” said Oettinger. Now, students, parents, and teachers are glad they have an expert taking care of them. ” He knows how to handle certain situations that maybe teachers or principals don’t know how to do,” said Morse. ” Fortunately we haven’t had to deal with anything dramatically devastating, but the potential is there, even in our rural community,” said Carol McGovern, principal of Mt. View Elementary School. Oettinger has cameras throughout the school so he knows what’s going on throughout the building. Safety is the top priority, but Officer Nick is also someone who the kids can talk to. ” I work with students as an advisor, as a mentor to help them through any family problems or school problems they have,” said Oettinger. ” Kids get to see a police officer in a very caring, supportive role that is just invaluable,” added McGovern. He’s not just Officer Nick the deputy, he’s Officer Nick, the role model, who is keeping kids and staff, safe.