Police officer Kevin Collins, a school resource officer who works in Oak Park’s Brooks Middle School, has been selected to receive the Award of Excellence from the Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel recognition program. The award will be presented at a banquet in October. Collins’s nomination, in the educational service personnel category, was written and submitted by the teachers and administrators he works with every day at Brooks Middle School. The award highlights Officer Collins’ passion for education, dedicated service to our school and tireless commitment to students and staff. The School Resource Officer program places police officers in Oak Park River Forest High School, Brooks Middle School and Julian Middle School. The goals of the program are to maintain a safe, secure school environment, and to demonstrate the department’s strong interest in serving youth in Oak Park. SRO officers are chosen specifically for their interests in youth culture, including contemporary issues and concerns, as well as their ability to communicate clearly with students and educators. On the job, the SRO officers keep the lines of communication open among students, educators, parents, school administrators and law enforcement. When called upon, they are the first point of contact for any police investigations that might take place in the school. They coordinate drills, provide input on the schools’ safety plans and speak to classes, student organizations and parent groups. For more information on the School Resource Officer program, call 708.386.3800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.