CARDINGTON- Jason Kiefer, an officer with the Cardingotn Police Department, has served as the SRO (School Resource Officer) for five years. His dedication to duty prompted Scott Hardwick, Cardington-Lincoln Elementary Principal, to nominate him as the recipient of the 2022 Helping Hands Award, given by the Delaware-Marion-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

Hardwick wrote, “Officer Kiefer is an important part of our culture at Cardington Elementary School. He arrrives early each day to positively engage with students to support them as well as show them that few enforcement officers are agents of support. Our culture and the lives of many of our students do not always paint law enforcement officers in a positive light. Officer Kiefer works very had to show the students a different perspective for law and enforcement officers. He makes it a point to walk each hallway every day to engage with students to help them feel important and safe while in school.”

“In addition to his patrol responsibilities, he has become a vital part of our PBIS program as he offers ‘lunch with the officer’ as a potential reward for earned Pirate Bucks. When students earn 200 Pirate Bucks they can purchase this reward and bring a friend along for the experience as well. Officer Kiefer picks up lunch and dessert for the two students, allows the reward recipient to wear an honorary police officer uniform shirt, gives them a tour of the cruiser and tells the students all about the many wonderful items that led him to become a police officer. Without a doubt, lunch with the officer is one of the most popular rewards each year as dozens of students choose this when saving their Pirate Bucks.”

“Officer Kiefer’s presence with students and willingness to take time out of his busy schedule each week brings many smiles on the faces of our little Pirates. The staff and I at Cardington Elementary greatly appreciate the impact he is making in the lives of our students. Our hope is that this program continues to make positive impact that not only lasts during their time at Cardington Elementary School but well into their lives as teens and adults.”

This letter was given congratulations by Morrow County Commissioners Tom Whiston, Tim Abraham and Timothy Siegfried, who commented, “Thank you for going above and beyond to serve the residents of Morrow County.”

Cardington Police Chief James Wallace commented, “I cannot put into words enough to say how honored and proud I am of Officer Jason Kiefer. Jason was chosen to be the school resource officer due to his dedication helping children of all ages in the village. His dedication to students goes beyond school, it also included summer programs in the Legion Park.”

“Jason has proven himself to be a member and role model for the children in the village. It was a great honor for me to have attended his award ceremony and watch him receive this award that is greatly deserves.”

Cardington Mayor Susie Peyton, who also attended the ceremony said, “I am so proud of the way Jason has developed the SRO program.”

Officer Kiefer said, “This is my fifth year as an SRO for the Cardington-Lincoln Schools and hearing about the nomination was a very pleasant surprise. Being recognized should remind me that our smallest actions can make the biggest differences.”

The award was made by the Delaware-Morrow-Marion Mental Health and Recovery Services Board when they met at the Four Seasons Barn.

Pictured left to right: Cardington Police Chief James Wallace, Officer Jason Kiefer and Cardington Mayor Susie Peyton. left to right: Cardington Police Chief James Wallace, Officer Jason Kiefer and Cardington Mayor Susie Peyton.

By Evelyn Long

For the Sentinel