This may be Pfc. Joey Melvin's last few days at the Milford School District, but his new job as a management analyst with the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security will keep him actively involved in school safety.
Melvin's new position will focus on implementing and improving comprehensive school safety plans at districts throughout Delaware. Melvin said he will work to ensure that each school has the proper framework, communication and ability to build on already established programs and safety measures.
"I look forward to being able to go to all the schools and treat them the way I did Milford," Melvin said. "I'm excited to be on the ground level of something like this. It's bittersweet, but it's exciting."
In September 2012, Gov. Jack Markell signed into law Senate Bill 233, the Omnibus School Safety Act, creating a statewide framework for comprehensive school safety plans. The act calls for schools, districts, first responders and the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security to work together to establish the most up-to-date safety plans for each public and charter school in the state.
Melvin explained that establishing a consistent method of communication between all responders, as well as catering to the specific needs of each school, from floor plans to age groups, will be a priority as he works to bolster the safety plans at Delaware schools.
As Melvin demonstrated at the Milford School District, preparation is key. The way you train or practice for an emergency, like a fire, electric outage or active shooter event, prepares the mind for how you will react when the adrenaline is rushing during the reality of an emergency situation, Melvin explained.
"In law enforcement you learn that during a critical incident you revert to your training. No matter how high stress the situation, your training takes over. If you don't train it could cost your life or the life of others," Melvin said. "Preparation and practice must be brought into the safety planning of our schools."
Before starting his new position on Oct. 8, Melvin has been training his replacement, Cpl. Robert Masten, who will take over at the district within two weeks.
Masten, who is certified as a school resource officer, said he plans to continue all programs implemented by Melvin and that his office will remain at Central Academy.
Masten said he looks forward to working within the Milford School District and hopes to work with a variety of initiatives with each grade level.
"You can do a lot of things that are proactive to try to reach the students," Masten said. "Education prevents a lot of things and gives you the opportunity to be proactive."
While he is excited to be taking his career in a new direction, Melvin is sad to be leaving his full-time position in Milford. He plans to continue mentoring some Milford students as well, he said.
"They're like family. I've seen these kids grow," he said. "I know I'll keep up with Milford. I won't be able to release it."