WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – He’s been part-time at many schools in the Ohio Valley, but this year, Sheriff Deputy G.J. Costello is taking on a full-time position at Woodsdale Elementary as their Prevention Resource Officer.
Woodsdale Elementary, in Wheeling WV, is the largest primary school in Ohio County. Ashlea Minch has been the principal at Woodsdale Elementary for four years. When she entered her second year, she pushed for a public relations officer. And although they received one part-time, she believed her school needed a full-time officer. And-they finally have one.
“Just we’re in a high traffic area here and it’s always been on my mind about the safety of it. So, we’ve been trying hard for the last three years. You know- I enter my fourth year, and we finally get one. It’s super exciting.”ASHLEA MINCH – PRINCIPAL WOODSDALE ELEMENTARY
Deputy Sheriff G.J. Costello. He was on call at the school last year as a P-R-O, but says he’s still adjusting to the large atmosphere at Woodsdale. His goal is to enforce D.A.R.E programs, internet safety, and create a close bond with the students.
“I’m excited to get into the classroom and learn who the kids are, and have the kids know me. And have them understand it’s okay to approach me and talk to me and know that I’m here for them. That’s the most important part.”G.J. COSTELLO – PRO WOODSDALE ELEMENTARY
And Minch couldn’t agree more. She is very passionate about local law enforcement in the area. So, receiving a P-R-O like Officer G was especially important for her.
“Just having that relationship with the local sheriff’s department or police department, too. Have kids approach police officers with good things. It’s not always a bad thing. I think it’s important to have them incorporated into the school system.”ASHLEA MINCH – PRINCIPAL WOODSDALE ELEMENTARY
During his first day on the job Officer G may have received some odd looks, but Minch is making sure the kids understand having him in the school is creating a safer atmosphere.
“Just trying to get them comfortable with them and realize it’s not a negative feature in our building, but a positive one.”ASHLEA MINCH – PRINCIPAL WOODSDALE ELEMENTARY
“So far, and we’re only about halfway through this day, but I’ve got a lot of hugs and high fives. And a lot of like “who’s this guy?” but they’re going to know who I am. They’re going to.”G.J. COSTELLO – PRO WOODSDALE ELEMENTARY
Costello says the most important thing is to start teaching kids safety programs early and let them know he’s there for them-no matter what.