Three Westside Schools to have dedicated School Resource Deputy

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Noah Robinson, second from left, shakes hands with Vanderburgh County Councilman James Raben at the June 3 press conference. Also present for the announcement and contract signing were Resurrection Principal Theresa Berendes, at left who officially retired at the end of June, St. Joseph in the County Principal Kelsey Meier and Corpus Christi Principal Andrea Greaney. The Message photo by Megan Erbacher

By Megan Erbacher

The Message editor

Three Catholic Schools on the Westside of Evansville will begin the 2024-25 school year with a dedicated School Resource Deputy. 

On June 3, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office hosted a press conference at Resurrection School in Evansville to announce a new partnership placing a dedicated School Resource Deputy at Resurrection, Corpus Christi and St. Joseph in the County Catholic schools. Vanderburgh County Sheriff Noah Robinson named Deputy Todd Schimmell the School Resource Deputy who will provide support to all three schools. 

Resurrection Principal Theresa Berendes, St. Joe Principal Kelsey Meier and Corpus Christi Principal Andrea Greaney signed an agreement with Sheriff Robinson that will allow Deputy Schimmell to exclusively serve the three schools in the new school year.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Schimmell will serve as the School Resource Deputy and provide support at three Westside Catholic Schools: Corpus Christi, Resurrection and St. Joseph in the County. The Message photo by Megan Erbacher

Each school will pay a portion of Deputy Schimmell's salary to cover his additional hours at the schools, Sheriff Robinson explained, and the county will cover the remainder of his salary.

“This was truly a team effort,” Sheriff Robinson said. “Deputy Schimmell has been in my ear about this for years. And to have Vanderburgh County Councilman James Raben’s support really kicked it in high gear.

“It’s truly a public-parochial partnership in which everyone benefits. The students here absolutely love Deputy Schimmell. He’s formed these positive relationships with these kids. He gets to continue to do that full-time at these three schools. And the county benefits because now we have a Sheriff’s Deputy covering these three schools essentially full time.”

Greaney said, “I think it just enhances the safety and security measures that we already have in place to protect our students and our staff members. And, it allows Deputy Schimmell to be engrained in our school culture instead of just seeing him as a drop-in visitor, he will become part of our school community.”

Meier agreed and said, “Seeing that influential ability that he has to work with our students, and the connections he’s already made with them, I look forward to seeing that continue to grow even further with having him there more often.”

Berendes, who officially retired at the end of June, said, “I think it will be a benefit to our staff as well, and then to look at additional security features that he sees we need to have done at our buildings. He’ll have those eyes on our buildings. … It’s vital for our schools. For our students and our staff to have that relationship and to know Deputy Schimmell will be here.”

Deputy Schimmell said he looks forward to really diving into this new partnership. 

“I covered six schools prior to this,” he said. “I’m going to miss those schools dearly, but this gives me the opportunity to really get in and be engrained in the culture, know all of the kids, know the schedules and know the parents, which is huge for what this is … to really be a part of the community and really put my training to use.”

Deputy Schimmell will rotate his time between the three schools throughout the week. Sheriff Robinson explained that a School Resource Deputy is more than just a security guard.

“The School Resource Deputy model is based on truly integrating with the operation of the school, so they are seen as part of the school, not just some security guard standing at the door. Deputy Schimmell is more than capable of defending the school from any threat. But equally as important, he’s capable and excels at forming those necessary and beneficial relationships with not only the students but the faculty as well.”

Sheriff Robinson explained some duties for Deputy Schimmell include being a resource that the three school communities can rely on, anything from counseling, informing security matters and being a true partner to each school.

“It’s about building relationships,” Sheriff Robinson said. “He’ll be that single point of contact … a friendly face they get to know, I think familiarity breeds trust. These schools here have stepped up in a big way to make this possible.”

Deputy Schimmell is a member of Resurrection Parish.