TROY — After 13 years working the midnight shift, Troy Police Department’s Patrolman Tracy Long is headed back to the classroom.
Troy City Schools welcomed Long as the city’s elementary school resource officer last month.
Long interviewed with local school administrators and was selected as the city of Troy’s SRO last fall. He will serve as the D.A.R.E. officer at all six Troy City Schools’ elementary schools, Troy Christian Elementary School and St. Patrick’s Catholic Schools.
Long takes the place of former elementary SRO Nick Freisthler who transferred to the detective division. Long will also assist in the city’s summer programs Be A Better Biker, SafetyTown and CSI Camp.
“It was an honor to be selected,” Long said. “We are very fortunate to have the support of the community for this program. I appreciate all the support.”
A self-described kid at heart, Long said he looks forward to being part of students’ days inside and outside of the classrooms around the city of Troy.
“I was drawn to the SRO position because I like helping people and helping kids. I like how the D.A.R.E. program focuses on decision making and how kids can build their skills to know how to respond to difficult situations,” he said. “It’s nice knowing I’m helping them add tools to their daily lives to help them today or later in life.”
Long said he looks forward to the challenges that come with being a school resource officer in the community.
“I like helping kids solve problems. It’s all about teaching prevention and showing them how to think through what may happen and understand how their decisions may impact their future,” he said.
Long completed two weeks of D.A.R.E. officer training in Lexington, Ky. in November. The D.A.R.E. program models stands for define, assess, respond and evaluate to help students make good decisions regarding drug and alcohol use as well as other issues such as bullying.
SRO Long travels to each elementary school to teach the D.A.R.E. program, which helps students learn how to use communication skills to live safe, responsible and drug-free lives.
“During D.A.R.E. training, I was impressed with how the lessons address issues kids are facing today with all the social media and phones,” he said.
Last month, SRO Long met with Kyle Elementary fifth graders to discuss responsibility and health issues surrounding alcohol and tobacco use. Following the classroom discussion, SRO Long let students ask him questions. Students asked about SRO Long’s gear, including his Taser and other safety gear. Long explained what kind of training officers must undergo to be entrusted with the equipment.
“If you weren’t a police officer what would you be?” one student asked.
Long, impressed with the student’s question, said, “I like to cook so I’d probably be a chef … I like feeding people.”
Long has served as a Troy Police Department officer since 2003. He started his career in law enforcement with Greenville Police Department in 2001. Long also served as a probation officer in Miami County prior to becoming a law enforcement officer. Long, a native of Darke County, first moved to Troy to work at Hobart Brothers’ welding wire company. Long also served as a U.S. Marine from 1988-1992 in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.
Long resides in Troy with his wife April and their three sons Collan, Gabriel and Joseph. The Long family is active in their church and Boy Scout troop, which Long serves as a scout leader. Long also enjoys helping his wife with her foster dog rescue.