by Lisa Tome
Had you told Derek Minker a decade ago that he'd be spending most of his work hours in a school guidance counselor's office, he likely would have laughed.
Now, he can't imagine anything different.
For the last two years, Minker has been a Cecil Sheriff's Office School Resource Deputy. He primarily works at the combined Bo Manor Middle and High School building.
Two years ago, an opening was announced for the schools. Minker decided to try it out. "I'm responsible for anything law enforcement in the schools - custody issues, drugs, fights, thefts, malicious destruction of property. Yes, all of the above," said Minker. "Where we find ourselves most is the guidance counselor's office. The number one thing about this (job) is building relationships. Primarily with students but also with staff and administrators," he said.
"You don't go to the police academy to walk the halls of a school. But now I don't just like it, I love it. I knew a little bit what to expect but you quickly find out if this job is for you," he said.
Minker, who is a parent, said he often draws on his parenting skills at work. "I have to put on my parenting hat at times. When I transitioned to being an SRO that's one of the things you learn on your own," he said.
Officers may also find themselves tending to problems in classrooms where teachers specialize in dealing with behavioral problems.
"I walk the hallways and make myself known. I make myself aware of things. I get attached to the kids," he said. "They (students) see us and realize that we are not what they thought we are."
Minker primarily spends his time at the high and middle school but also checks in at least once a week at Chesapeake City and Cecilton elementary schools and also at Cecil Manor Elementary.
He said that his supervisor Sgt. Todd Creek "is the best boss I've ever had." Creek was present when Minker made that statement. Minker also said he can count on Sgt. Creek and the other school deputies to help out if he needs an extra pair of hands.
Minker and Creek both said that while the majority of their time is spent dealing with older students, they know where to go if they are having a challenging day - an elementary school. "You have a bad day, you go to an elementary school. There is where you get the high fives," laughed Minker.