Recently, Sgt. John Cline, from the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office was recognized for his service as he was named the State School Resource Officer of the year for his work in the Sedalia 200 School District.

“Sgt. Cline always goes about his day in a highly professional manner, while still remaining approachable and friendly to staff, students, and patrons of our district,” Steve Triplett, assistant superintendent of schools wrote in his nomination letter of Cline. “Sgt. Cline’s accomplishments are quite commendable both as an officer with the Sheriff’s department, as well as with his work as an SRO.

“I consider him to be not only one of the finest school resource officers in the state, but one of the finest, most genuine men I have ever had the opportunity to know,” Triplett added. “I was previously quoted in the local paper as saying ‘John Cline lives life the way he talks about life.’ He is a man of integrity, an honest, ethical man.”

Cline, who is a sergeant in the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office through a partnership with the Sedalia 200 School District, has served as the SRO for the past 10 years.

In that capacity, Cline, who leads a team of three additional SROs, is responsible for the safety and security of 10 district facilities which are home to more than 5,000 students and 650 staff members.

“I have always believed that the only way to save the world is one person at a time,” Cline said. “This job gives me the opportunity to do just that.

“I am also wired with a strong protective instinct and I take the satisfaction in the fact that if an evil person tries to come and hurt my kids, they will have to come through me first. That would be a formidable task,” he added.

Cline said the role of SRO involves being a law enforcement officer, a guest instructor, and an informal counselor.

“My typical day involves as much contact with students and staff as possible,” Cline commented. “I strive to be out in the hallways to see and be seen.”

“As Sheriff Bond often says, I am effectively the sheriff of Smith-Cotton High School,” he added. ”I respond to calls for law enforcement service that occur on school property during the school day, present educational programs in classrooms that have a connection to law enforcement, and I speak with students about problems that they are experiencing so I can get them pointed in the right direction.”

During the school year Cline is assigned to the Sedalia School District full time but his work does not stop during summer vacation.

“During the summer months, I participate in continuing education training and complete other tasks and projects as assigned by my supervisors, of which there are plenty” Cline stated. “The SRO position first became available in 2007, after the district approached the Sheriff regarding the possibility of adding an SRO from the Sheriff’s Office.

“I had been with the Sheriff’s Office for several years at the time, having worked in the jail, road patrol, and reserve divisions,” he added. “I was looking for a challenge that I felt would complement my skills and abilities.”

Cline added that he felt the position would provide a unique opportunity to build the program from the ground up.

Even when not at work, Cline spends much of his free time in the service of others.

“In my spare time I serve as a church deacon, a troop master for Trail Life USA Troop 1821, and I am a member of the U.S. Army Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) as well enjoying rifle and pistol shooting,” Cline said. “I also enjoy raising poultry, helping my neighbor on his farm.”

Cline is very unassuming in his roles, choosing to go about his work serving others in a quiet manner.

It was Triplett who noted that Cline was instrumental in bringing double homicide suspect, James Horn to justice early in 2015, the same year in which Cline received the Gene Darnell Excellence in Law Enforcement Award.

“I have attended the MSROA Conference for the last eight years, and I have seen this award presented several times, always to great SRO’s.” Cline said. “It never occurred to me that I would be nominated for it and my selection for the award was a closely held secret…I wasn’t aware of it until I entered the room for lunch and was greeted by my family, my supervisors and my co-workers at the head table that I realized my selection.”

“I was pleasantly surprised,” he added. “I was humbled by my selection for this award. I look forward to serving the citizens of Pettis County for many years to come, Lord willing.”

By Hope Lecchi | Sedalia Democrat