School Resource Officer Odell Glenn always greets students with a big smile and a friendly “Hello.” He believes his main role is to protect the students at Pelion and Forts Pond elementary schools not only while they are in class, but also once they leave campus. To do this, he says he must gain their trust at a young age and serve as a positive role model for what law enforcement officers should be.
“Our ultimate goal, as school resource officers, is to set a good foundation for kids,” says Glenn. “We must help these kids understand that we are here to protect them, and we will do whatever it takes to help them become successful people.”
Glenn, a Winnsboro, South Carolina, native, spent 24 years in law enforcement. Most of that time was spent with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department where he served as a patrol officer and, later, as a criminal investigator.
He retired in 2017, but after a few months, he realized he wasn’t ready to leave law enforcement completely. In 2018, he began working as a school resource officer with the Pelion Police Department.
During his career, Glenn says he unfortunately saw too many young people make bad choices, break the law and end up with a juvenile record by the time they were teenagers. He believes, as a school resource officer, he can help to prevent other children from sharing that same fate.
He is publishing a series of graphic novels that teach children safety lessons in engaging and creative ways. The first book in this comic-book-styled series is titled Adventures of Officer O.G.: School Cops and was published in the spring.
“I have always been a comic book fan, and I love writing and drawing,” says Odell. “So, I wanted to combine these passions to illustrate and write the books. And right now, graphic novels are popular with kids.”
In the first book, readers begin to learn about the role of school resource officers by following Officer O.G.
“Some children, as well as parents, wonder why there are police officers in school. I hope that these adventures will answer that question,” said Glenn.
The second book, which was published in June, shows children how to stay safe during a school fire. The third book, due out in late August, focuses on school bullying. Glenn plans to write two more books in this series.
“I use the books as another tool to get across to kids that law enforcement is here to protect you and keep you safe. I want students to learn that they can trust me and other police officers. I am constantly talking to kids about what’s wrong and right.”
Glenn says he believes that those important lessons are sinking in and hopes his books are empowering children to make good choices and stay safe.