𝐊𝐄𝐄𝐏𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐒𝐂𝐇𝐎𝐎𝐋𝐒 𝐒𝐀𝐅𝐄
Taylor County Schools was one of the first districts in the state to create its own police department. The department has grown since it was created and we now employ a School Resource Officer (SRO) at each school building within the district.
Taylor County Primary Center
Tim Coppage, SRO at Taylor County Primary Center, has been an SRO at Taylor County Schools for five years.
He graduated from Taylor County High School in 1983, and attended Campbellsville College for two years before taking a job with the Kentucky State University Police Department in Frankfort.
After several months there, he returned to Campbellsville to work as a full-time emergency dispatcher and a part-time member of the Campbellsville Police Department’s (CPD) auxiliary force. He was hired on as a full-time CPD officer in 1990 and retired in 2010.
He then took a position with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) and worked there until 2020. Three of his 10 years with TCSO were spent working as an SRO for Taylor County Schools, so when the school district decided to create its own police department, Officer Coppage was a natural choice!
“I’ve worked a little bit at all of the schools, and being an SRO at each one is pretty different,” he explained. “At the primary center, my biggest concern is parents or family members, since the students here are younger kids. Every once in a while there may be a child I’m asked to talk to, so we’ll walk through the halls and talk for a while and that’s it, problem solved.”
He said the field of policing has changed a lot since he began decades ago, but he’s glad to be working as an SRO now, and takes pride in being a good role model for the students who look up to him.
“I can’t even count how many fist bumps and hugs I get from kids every day, and it makes it all worth it,” he said. “I got to a point in law enforcement where I was burnt out and didn’t want to do it anymore, but now I enjoy getting up and coming in to work every day.”
Taylor County Intermediate School
Pat Thompson is Taylor County Schools' newest School Resource Officer, taking her post at Taylor County Intermediate School.
She is a graduate of Carroll High School in Ozark, Alabama, and attended Eastern Kentucky University, where she completed her basic training and all of her additional training, with many of her courses focused on crimes against children.
Officer Thompson started working for the Campbellsville Police Department as an officer in 1999 and retired as CPD's Chief of Police in 2018.
"Most of my training was in crimes against children and I always found that field to be most rewarding to work in, so being put into a school atmosphere where my primary function is ensuring student safety is wonderful," she said.
“It really amazes me when I walk down the halls and have children say ‘good morning Mrs. Thompson,’ or ‘good morning, Mrs. Pat,’ and see that they’ve remembered my name. As a police officer, you really don’t get to interact with the same people all that often, so I’ve enjoyed every minute here.”
Taylor County Middle School
Brian Leach is the School Resource Officer at Taylor County Middle School.
He is a 1982 graduate of Taylor County High School, a 1985 graduate of Lindsey Wilson College and attended Campbellsville University, majoring in business administration.
Officer Leach worked for more than 20 years as a trooper with Kentucky State Police, enforcing both criminal and traffic laws throughout the state, which has given him a wide range of experience that benefits him in his role as an SRO.
While he worked with kids on occasion as a state trooper, he has found working predominantly with students at the middle school an interesting change of pace.
“Getting fist bumps from the kids is pretty awesome,” he said, “but the part I find most rewarding is helping that one kid who may be on the edge of heading down the wrong path. I want to help show them the right way to deal with things, that way they can stay on the right path.”
Central Kentucky Career Academy
David Tucker joined our team of School Resource Officers in January and is stationed at the Central Kentucky Career Academy.
He is a 1992 graduate of Taylor County High School and graduated from Lindsey Wilson College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
Officer Tucker worked as an officer for the Campbellsville Police Department for two decades before becoming the SRO at the CKCA. Since beginning the job, he has been impressed by Taylor County staff members' dedication to caring for the district’s students and the wide variety of opportunities the district provides for them through the CKCA.
“Being a school resource officer differs from my previous law enforcement work in a lot of ways,” he said. “It’s my hope that my past experience can help me as I work to guide students down the right path in life and ensure they have a safe environment where they know they are protected.”
Taylor County High School / District
Ricky Underwood is the School Resource Officer at Taylor County High School, and is Chief Officer of the Taylor County Schools Police Department.
He attended Taylor County Schools growing up but graduated from Green County High School, then attended Vincennes University in Indiana and Eastern Kentucky University.
Officer Underwood served 21 years in the Kentucky National Guard, four years as a Taylor County Metro Police officer, 20 years as a trooper for the Kentucky State Police (10 of those years were as a detective, and six years were K-9 with Special Operations) and six years as a deputy with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department before becoming an SRO.
With so much experience in law enforcement, he feels his knowledge of the legal system and time spent serving this community help him a lot as chief of the school district’s SROs.
“Working as an SRO at the high school means I spend far more time with the students than I do with adults,” he said. “It’s rewarding to be able to help kids with problems they’re going through, and I take care to be a good role model for them.”
Underwood said that the goal of the district’s SROs is not to punish students, but to help keep students, teachers and staff safe above all else.