Perrysburg hires school officer

PERRYSBURG – Police officer Mark Lepkowski was introduced Monday as the school resource officer soon to
be stationed at Perrysburg High School.
The board and those present at the meeting met Lepkowski, a 1984 Perrysburg graduate, who will focus on
interacting with students beginning this spring, and likely full-time in the fall.
Hosler said until now, Perrysburg was the largest district in Northwest Ohio without a school resource
officer.
"It was time to do something about putting an officer in our schools," Hosler said. "The
role of that officer is pivotal – it’s not someone that is going to be looking to arrest students during
the middle of the day, but it is somebody who wants to be a good and strong role model, someone that
(students) see in an officer the qualities that will build confidence and trust, and then have that
ability to talk to the officer about issues that they’re facing. It’s vital to prevention, and it’s
vital to keeping the communication lines open."
The city will hire a new officer to replace Lepkowski on patrol, and about 70 percent of Lepkowski’s
approximately $75,000 salary and benefits will be reimbursed by the school district. City council
approved the new officer as part of the 2014 budget in December.
Three candidates were interviewed before Lepkowski was chosen. "At the end of the process, there was
one officer who stood out, someone I know will do a great job fitting in as part of our school
community," Hosler said.
Police Chief Dan Paez thanked the board and city officials for being supportive of the program and said
he was happy it finally came to fruition.
"It’s something that’s been on our minds for a long period of time. I think it’s time for
this," he said.
Selection of the right officer was critical, Paez said, admitting that a younger version of himself
likely wouldn’t have been right for the job.
"We had to select someone with the right qualities, and I think we’ve done that with Officer
Lepkowski. He’s had an interest in this … He likes working with young people, he’s got kids of
different ages in the school system, so that helps understand some of the issues" students face.

Lepkowski also spoke Monday, joking that he was going back to high school for his 30th reunion.
"It’s new to me, but I’m excited to get in there. It’s going to be a challenge."
Also on Monday, the board recognized student accomplishments in sports and extracurriculars, as well as
the efforts of the snow removal crew.