Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series looking at this area’s school resource officers and the work they do to keep local students and schools safe.
For the last few months, Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Bledsoe has been one of two resource Officers at Bethel Public Schools protecting and bonding with students.
According to Bledsoe, he has been a deputy with the Pottawatomie. County Sheriff's Office for about six years and has wanted to serve his community since he was 5 years old.
"I've always wanted to help people. I always wanted to be a cop since I was a little kid," Bledsoe said.
At first he worked in construction like his father, but he decided to make the change to law enforcement.
Bledsoe and his partner, Deputy Jared Strand, have been working as Bethel's school resource officers since October.
The deputy explained he was excited when the assignment became available because he hopes to make a difference in students' lives.
"This was something that just came up as an opportunity and I love kids. I love interacting with them," Bledsoe said. "When I was in middle school I really enjoyed the school resource officer that we had and he made a big impact in my life."
Bledsoe said he idolized police officers as a child and hopes to be that for the students at Bethel Public Schools.
"I hope that I can be that for someone. A lot of the kids here have been really receptive to us and hopefully we can make a positive impact in their lives," Bledsoe said. "If they have any problems or anything, they can come to us and we can make it a little easier."
While his time at Bethel has been limited, Bledsoe said he has become very acclimated to being around the children and he maintains his other duties as a deputy.
"I've been around kids. I've got my own and so I am very comfortable being around kids and interacting with them and speaking their language and knowing where they're coming from," Bledsoe said. "So it hasn't really been too much of an adjustment for me. It's been good."
For Bledsoe, the best aspect of his assignment is interacting with the students and seeing how they respond to him.
"You know you have 50 third graders who want to give high fives and it's really enjoyable," Bledsoe said. "Our job at night, we don't always get the best people. People call us when they're at their worst...here everyone is happy to see us. It's a positive environment to be in for sure."
Bledsoe said he has yet to come across any challenges with this assignment and he's thankful for the Bethel faculty and staff.
"The staff has been very helpful. They're very receptive to us as well," Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe said he shares his duties with Strand and they alternate days at Bethel.
On the days that he's at the school, he does traffic control, he goes from campus to campus and checks for any issues while walking the halls and interacting with the students between classes.
As time goes on, the deputy said he hopes to make a change in young lives and continue to keep them safe while they're at school.
"My biggest thing is I want to make a positive impact on the students. Maybe do a little public relations...and make sure that they know they can trust us," Bledsoe said.