Things to Know from SRO Joe
Hamilton Community Schools School Resource Officer, Deputy Joe Knapp, is responsible for district safety and security. Since being hired in 2022, Deputy Knapp has implemented several plans and policies in accordance with state laws to keep our students and staff safe.
With the beginning of the school year upon us, we have made several upgrades to both district and classroom safety and security. District wide training started in August and will continue through November for teachers and other staff members who are in our buildings on a daily basis on what to do in the case of an emergency. The training is not just for an active assailant, but for any type of emergency that may arise; weather related, fire, and/or an active assailant or suspicious person on school grounds. Teachers were given an overview Powerpoint on the Welcome Back to school day in August, dealing with active assailants and what to do in case such an event occurs in our community. As a reminder, if a school goes into lockdown it does not do so only for an active assailant situation. Rather, it can be for exterior situations such as law enforcement handling a situation going on near or around our buildings throughout the district. Our goal is to be PREPARED, NOT PARANOID for emergency situations that may arise in our district.
The building staff have and will be learning what to do in case of a lockdown in our schools for an active assailant in our building. The training deals with how to secure and fortify our classroom doors, how to get out of the classroom in an emergency when the door can not be used, and much more. These are skills which are not only for school, but skills which can be used in our daily lives at a mall, movie theater, or grocery store.
In addition to the security of the classroom, GO BUCKETS have been placed in every classroom and common areas of our school buildings. These buckets serve as a multi-purpose item and can be used in a number of different situations/emergencies that may arise while the kids of our district are under our watch. Along with this training and equipment, we have been hard at work reviewing and updating our district's EOP (Emergency Operations Plan), along with updates to EMG (Emergency Management Guides) for handling building level emergencies, and our new EPG (Emergency Response Guides) for the classroom level emergencies. These plans and guides have been under review and updated since the Spring of 2023, which were given out at the start of the school year. While we hope these items are ever needed, we do need to be prepared in the case of an emergency. Please know the safety of the students and staff in our school district and community are of the highest priority and we continue to improve and update our safety procedures consistently.
Thank you for entrusting your children with us. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me directly. Go Hawkeyes!
Deputy Joe Knapp
Hamilton Community Schools SRO
Allegan County Sheriff's Department
About Deputy Knapp
My wife Lisa and I moved to the Hamilton school district from West Ottawa schools in 2006, because Lisa and I grew up in a small town and school in Ravenna. We wanted the small town feel for our kids growing up. All of our kids are graduates of Hamilton in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2019.
I am a graduate of the Grand Rapids Community College police program with an associates degree in Criminal Justice. I have had the privilege of working for the Sheriff's Department since 1996 and wanted to move into Allegan County where I was working. Lisa was a stay-at-home mom until all the kids were in school full-time.
I played football overseas in Europe while serving in the United States Air Force for the Luxemburg Lions football team for three years. I joined the Air Force out of high school as a Law Enforcement Specialist and served for five years, two state side and three in Germany. We won two Belgian National Championships with the Luxemburg Lions while I played left tackle. My coaching career started at West Ottawa Middle School in 1994, 95-96 at Holland middle school 8th grade head coach. 1997 to 2015, I served as an assistant football coach at Hope College coaching defensive backs, defensive line, and tight ends/offensive line for most of my time. I was also named the junior varsity head football coach at Hope College from 2012 to 2015.
I have been coaching at Hamilton since 2016 as a lower level head coach, defensive line, quarterback and running backs coach for the last three years at Hamilton.
Back to safety and security, I have always been involved in school safety with the Sheriff's Department since the Columbine Shooting in 1999, and am the Sheriff's Department Lead instructor for all active shooter training for schools, churches and businesses throughout the county. I have a passion for kids helping them grow, try to give them positive interactions with Law Enforcement. One of my pet peeves is when a parent tells their kids do this or I'll have the police arrest you take you to jail, which makes kids fear police and we want kids to not be afraid of law enforcement. I think being in Hamilton Community Schools as a School Resource Officer (SRO). I will be able to foster relationships with kids and not make them fear us. We are normal people with a very important job in society.
I am very excited that I am the Hamilton Community Schools SRO and am excited for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year, so I can continue to build relationships with kids of all ages throughout the district/community and make our school district/community a safe place for kids to attend. My goal is to make us a PREPARED but NOT PARANOID school district/community. Go Hawkeyes!