DIXON, Ky. (WEHT) – Being a police officer is tough, but being a role model to youth may be tougher.

Deputy Russell Roberts – known to most as Mr. Roberts – patrols the halls at Webster County High School. Roberts became the school’s first school resource officer in 2019, but before that, he was working on the streets as a State Trooper. Roberts decided he needed change – one that was both challenging and impactful.

Roberts says, “It was big transition. And actually I was nervous when I first started because it is not anything that I had ever really focused on. I truly never thought I would be an SRO.”

Roberts took on several hats, some of which he didn’t know he could handle. By building relationships with students, he is able to help them see new perspectives. Some students were not fond of police officers, until they met Roberts.

Roberts says, “A police officer is who I am but it is not what I am. I am a father, I am a grandfather, I am an uncle, I am a brother. And when you let them see that other side, it just calms them and gives them a different perspective.”

Roberts work with kids of all ages, from first grade up to seniors in high school. But some students stand out. Roberts noticed she had past trauma and helped her work through obstacles. He helped her get to the finish line.

Roberts says, “She came back – probably about a year ago – and she had a her baby with her… I walked out to say something to her and she gave me a hug and showed me her baby. That was very rewarding and kind of me choked me up a little bit.”

Roberts says the best part is working with the kids and seeing the impact he has on them.

Roberts says, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much they care.”