This SRO is NOT Standing Room Only

School Resource Officer Returns Full Time to West Geauga


For years West Geauga had a school resource officer, courtesy of the Chester PD. Several years ago, due to funding issues, that partnership ceased to exist. However, for the 2018 – 2019 school year, West Geauga High School has, once again, introduced a police officer to the school. “We would very much welcome the opportunity to have a resource officer who is dedicated to the schools,” said West G. Superintendent, Dr. Richard Markwardt, to the Geauga Maple Leaf.

Chester Police Chief Mark Purchase said a new SRO (school resource officer) would cost roughly $86,462 the first school year — July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. He proposed splitting the cost 50/50 with the West Geauga Schools and said Dr. Markwardt received the proposal favorably. Russell Township Trustees agreed to provide a cruiser and equipment once Chester Twp. trustees and the West G school board approved the hire. “It’s important that we show the support that both communities and the school have for one another,” the chief told the Maple Leaf.

Officer Mark Rich is the police officer who we will be getting to know this year at the high school. This is far from his first trip in the “law enforcement rodeo,” however. Officer Rich has been a police officer for 15 years. After starting in Cleveland, he has served in Geauga for the bulk of his years. Officer Rich said, “I always had an interest working in schools and with students [and] always wanted to be a teacher but going into law enforcement was a good opportunity.”

Officer Rich, has 2 daughters and they both attend Mentor schools.  He attended Berkshire High School, graduating in 1999. Instead of college he attended the police academy. Outside of work he likes to ride 3 wheelers, go hiking, kayak, camp, and work some construction. Much of this while being with his daughters, of course.

So far he loves West Geauga. “All the kids are friendly everyone has been positive so far.” If you haven’t met him yet in the hallway of the school, you just might run in to him at Patterson Fruit Farm where he works part – time on the weekends.