SRO keeps district safe


Kendall Morrison

Dressler stands with RHS Vice Principal Doug Faris during lunch.

Kendall Morrison, Reporter

Waking up early, standing in the cold before dawn and traveling between buildings all day may not seem like the ideal job for some, but for School Resource Officer (SRO) Scott Dressler, that is his reality every day. 

Not only does he greet students entering each building in the Revere district every morning, but he loves doing it and works to keep these schools running and safe. From protecting the Revere High School lunch periods to expanding safety precautions throughout the whole district, Dressler is constantly bouncing between buildings to ensure the safety of every child that passes through Revere. 

His first police job was at University Hospitals, but he moved to the North Randall area, becoming an SRO in that district before eventually arriving in Richfield, and is now in his 23rd year as an officer with the department. However, that was not his original post-high school plan. 

“When I graduated high school, I was going to go to college to become a teacher,” Dressler said. 

He had goals to become a history teacher and coach. 

After his aspirations changed and Dressler got married, he underwent the police training program and eventually earned his position as an officer. Although he did not end up teaching the American Revolution in a history class or coaching football, Dressler still works with and teaches children daily; he goes to those same football games not to coach but to protect. It is clear to anyone that knows him that he has a passion for protecting those around him. Revere Superintendent Dr. Michael Tefs works closely with Dressler to keep the district safe.

“This is not a vocation for him; it’s an avocation,” Tefs said. 

By the time Dr. Tefs stepped into his position as superintendent, Dressler had already been working in the district for years. He feels fortunate to have a student resource officer who goes beyond what is expected of him.

“He has this uncanny ability to lead but then collaborate. . . and make sure everybody’s voice is heard,” Tefs said.

The two work closely with each other to ensure the safety and comfort of the students and staff throughout the whole district; Dressler must be collaborative to perform his job properly. 

Principal of Revere High School Dr. Andy Peltz has to work closely with Dressler every day to keep the school up and running.

“[He is] passionate, educated, dedicated and thoughtful yet non-reactive,” Peltz said.

In addition to loving what he does, Dressler exceeds expectations by working not just inside the schools, but running events outside of the classroom or lunchroom. Because the holidays can be hard on some families, over the last few months, he collaborated with others in Revere to provide 20-25 families in the district with gift cards, cookies and gifts. Every summer, he offers food drives, and he runs Safety Town, welcoming incoming kindergarten students with water safety, fire safety, gun safety, a smokehouse, Murphy the dog and more. He even spoke at the senior center a few weeks before the end of the year, and he doesn’t consider his job a burden.

“At times, I get pulled in a lot of different directions, but overall, I’m so happy, and I think my job is one of the best jobs on Earth,” Dressler said. 

He does all this extra collaboration because he cares about the students and their families that he, more often than not, knows on a first-name basis.

“[My] favorite part of my job is just interacting with the kids, from preschool all the way to the seniors…my joy is being around the kids,” Dressler said.

Every once in a while, his job can be overwhelming, but he tries his hardest to handle it with grace, walking a fine emotional line in any situation students or staff might find themselves in.

“He doesn’t overreact, but he’s thoughtful in his process. He’s been here long enough that the relationships he’s built, there’s an extra level of trust which doesn’t always become attached to an officer of the law,” Peltz said. 

In previous years, he has helped with the Stop the Bleed training, involved himself in drills, helped to install vape detectors in the bathrooms and organized a food pantry with the Richfield Police in the midst of a quarantine to provide extra aid to families hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He would not be able to do the work he does without support, funding and the trust he earned as Revere’s SRO. 

“The only way my job [is] possible is the cooperation I get from staff, parents, police chiefs, fire chiefs, superintendents [and the] Board of Education. They [give] me the ability to do things that normal SROs don’t do,” Dressler said. 

The people he cites as his biggest supporters are the same people who recognize the work he puts into his job every day. In 2021, Doug Faris, the assistant principal of Revere High School, and Jen Reece, former communications director, nominated Dressler for an award. Chosen out of around 340 members, the Ohio School Resource Officers Association presented Dressler with the 2021 School Resource Officer of the Year award for his dedication to the safety of his students and his motivation to go above and beyond what is expected of him, even while he had his own problems at home.  

“I could sit in the car and just be security and watch the doors, but [administration] allows me to make relationships with kids and do things a little outside the box,” Dressler said. 

A state consultant comes in monthly to assess the security of the school buildings and has assured Dressler that his efforts are paying off, making Revere one of the top three safest schools in Ohio. 

“I am never satisfied with [the safety of the district], but I’m confident in what we have in place,” Dressler said. 

Since receiving that award, Dressler has implemented a new tool for security — SchoolGuard. This mobile panic button app is designed to create the fastest possible communication between staff members in case of an emergency. Its advanced technology sends an alert to Dressler if the button is pressed and can throw any school into lockdown remotely. It also can’t be pushed accidentally, not only limited by a geo-field around the schools, but also by the confirmation messages required to activate the alarm. 

He made it his goal to get the app the summer after an incident where the high school was forced into lockdown due to a nearby dangerous situation, and he set up meetings with the company and managed to get a grant that completely paid for the app for three years. 

However, the app was not used during the recent bomb threat at Bath Elementary. After a threatening voicemail was discovered early morning on voting day, Dressler conferenced with Dr. Tefs, the Summit County Bomb Team, and the Bath Police Department, deciding quickly to evacuate the school to be safe. 

“We. . . figured it was fake,” Dressler said.

Although voting days are notorious for being targets for people who wish to induce panic in the population, they still managed to comb through the elementary school to ensure the safety of the students. 

“It was scary in one sense, but it was also good for us as law enforcement and the school to see how quick we can get buses there and get 600 [to] 700 kids out of a building,” Dressler said. 

The situation was handled quickly and calmly by all involved, sending the 3rd-5th graders to the high school. Although his job can be difficult in situations like this one, Officer Dressler still loves protecting the students of Revere and building his relationship with them. He works every day to better the safety of the district and the people in it.