Lancaster County School Resource Officers in the Spotlight: Columbia’s Troy Engle
The District Attorney’s Office is proud to announce a new series of posts to highlight the incredible work of School Resource Officers across Lancaster County. A School Resource Officer, or SRO, is a law-enforcement officer based in a school district to provide assistance with crime prevention and security.
Many of the school districts across the county have SROs, and we’d like to start recognizing them – beginning with SRO Troy Engle in Columbia School District. Officer Engle is in his second school year in Columbia and shared the following about his experiences:
What is a typical day like for you?
I never know what the day will look like. Occasionally, I start the day off dealing with a fight or social-media drama from the prior night. I try to meet with the students involved and mediate the situation. I often have kids come to the office that want to report an issue they or a friend are dealing with, so I help them solve it or put them in contact with someone who can help them. I also get invited into classrooms to teach or participate in the lesson. I spend time collecting and preparing information for the district’s staff to improve our school’s safety.
One of my favorite parts of the day is during lunch where I get to sit down by a student I may never have met and start a conversation. Sometimes I try to steer them toward playing a sport or talk about their future plans or just get to know them better.
What accomplishments/programs are you most proud of during your time as an SRO?
- BOOM: Boys Overcoming Obstacles of Maturity, which is group of 9th-11th grade boys that meet as a large group once a month after school where we eat pizza and listen to a speaker. Speakers ranged from a retired NFL player to a gentleman who spent 10 years in prison for manslaughter. We also meet as smaller group throughout the month and help them work on life’s issues. The principal, school counselor (intern), and I have also taken them on trips to the Hershey Bears, Lancaster Barnstormers, bowling, and Gettysburg.
- 5th quarter: After home football games and some basketball games, we provide food for any student at a local church. The food is typically donated by Black Olive Family Diner. I play games and hang out with the kids up until curfew. Attendance ranged from 10-100 depending on the day.
- Last year, I ran a law-enforcement program for anyone interested in an L-E career. Speakers from ATF, state parole, juvenile probation, and other organizations spoke with the group. I also brought a group of six to the PSP academy
- I’ve taught about sexting to middle school, bullying to elementary, gun safety to kindergarten, and the dangers of alcohol (using “drunk goggles”) to the high school.
- I am the JV girls’ softball coach and run off-season workouts in the high school fitness room.
- Participating in DMC events in Millersville and Columbia.
What is something you would like people to know about SROs?
We are a different variation of policing because in addition to our law-enforcement duties we are also a counselor, a mentor, and, occasionally, a teacher.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
I have four kids ten and under, so I don’t have much downtime. I like to participate in long-distance runs with my dad, play outside with my kids, and spend time with other families from the church we attend.
Anything else you would like to add?
One of the most positive areas of this job is being a liaison between the kids of our community and the police department. I am impressed with the overall quality of students at the Columbia School District. A patrol officer can easily become jaded due to dealing with repeat offenders and miss out on all of the excellent children in our area.
I know that I learn just as much from these kids as they learn from me. I hope that I have a positive impact on them and how they perceive our police department.