Kevin Harrington became a police officer nearly two decades ago to make a difference in people’s lives.
“That was the main reasons I got into police work to begin with, and it’s still the main reason why I’m still doing it,” the 19-year police veteran said. “Some people need more help than others, and I take gratification in helping them get out of what ever type of situation or kind of trouble they might be in.”
Harrington, 46, has impacted hundreds of students as a school resource officer in Fairfield City Schools, a duty assignment he’s leaving, as he was promoted to sergeant earlier this summer.
But his impact was likely no larger than for a former student who was abused by two family members. He was recently named Fairfield Rotary Club Police Officer of the Year, a first-time honor, because of his work on that case he’s followed for more than two years.
“I was there for her,” Harrington said. “I went ahead and filed charges on (the family members), arrested both of them and made sure she wound up in a very safe place after that.”
The girl was eventually adopted by the foster parents from central Ohio, and Harrington’s efforts meant so much to the family he was invited to the adoption ceremony.
“They had asked me because they said, ‘You had been such an influence in her life and also helping us to get her …,’” he said. “It really turned out well, and if it wasn’t for me being a school resource officer that would have never have happened.”
Last month, the girl graduated high school, he said.
Helping and working with kids is why Harrington wanted to be an SRO, a job he had for 11 years and grew to love.
“I’ve always been good dealing with kids,” said the former commander at the Respect for Law Camp. “I was really good for kids, and it was just natural for me when a spot opened up in the school is to apply for (the SRO duty assignment) that.”
Harrington, a St. Louis native who moved with his parents to Milford in the seventh grade, will now influence younger and rookie police officers as the second-shift supervisor.
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“I was good with SRO for a while but I felt like I needed a new challenge,” said Harrington. Though Harrington will work second shift, which he admits is not desirable for a husband and father of three, he said he’ll “make a bigger difference helping the younger police officers.”
Second shift is where rookie and younger police officers work, as they’ll see the most action.
“I’ll be helping to make them better officers, and influencing them on how to do the job correctly,” said Harrington. “I think that (time as an SRO) is going to help me with the newer officers.”