When he first began thinking of what he would do for a career, Preston Crissey thought it would take place in a classroom. Now years later, he is still ending up in a school building, albeit under different circumstances.
Starting today (Monday), Crissey is the new school resource officer for the Yankton School District (YSD). He will mainly split his time between Yankton Middle School and Yankton High School, though he will also go to any of the four elementary schools, if needed.
"We want to recognize and thank City Manager Amy Nelson, Police Chief Harris and the Yankton City Commission for this fantastic partnership with the Yankton School District," YSD Superintendent Wayne Kindle told the Press & Dakotan. "Officer Crissey is an outstanding individual and police officer. We have tremendous confidence in his leadership, knowledge and ability to foster positive relationships with our students, staff and administrators as our school resource officer. He has a significant role in the safety of our students, as well as staff, and I have complete confidence in him."
Prior to beginning his career as an officer, Crissey said he had imagined himself having a career in education, going so far as to pursue a major in that field when he went to college.
However, that soon changed when he decided to take part in a ride-along with a police officer in his hometown of Beresford.
"It wasn’t anything too exciting, but it was different to be driving around late at night," he said. "We had a few minor calls, but it intrigued me enough to change my major."
Crissey transferred to Southeast Technical Institute to pursue an associate’s degree in criminal justice.
He became a police officer upon graduating, working first as a seasonal intern for Game, Fish & Parks, then for Aurora and Bon Homme counties before joining the Yankton Police Department two years ago.
Yankton is an ideal place for Crissey’s family to be. His wife, Kim, is originally from Yankton and family members, including his mother- and sisters-in law, reside in town and can help Crissey and his wife take care of their almost 3-year old and 1-year old children.
Crissey said he believes having previously worked with juveniles while pursuing his former college major will be an asset to him while he’s on the job.
"It will be a bit different from working the streets and going from call to call," he said. "I’ll essentially be working with a small, tight-knit community with the schools and taking calls, but with juveniles."
A big part of that will involve assisting school staff with any serious situations that arise.
"As a law enforcement officer, I’m under a spotlight all the time," he said. "I want to lead by example for the faculty, students, staff, parents and community. Having this role gives me more ways to bring law enforcement and the community together."
Crissey plans to continue to work the patrol side of law enforcement during the summer months when school isn’t in session.
"I don’t care if I’ve dealt with you 100 times or zero times — I still try to treat people the same as I would want to be treated," he said. "I think people who have dealt with me in other communities know that I’m a fair and reasonable guy. That’s the way I will continue to operate."
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