Sixteen years ago, Katlyn Overturf was walking the halls of Evans Middle School as a student. Today she walks the same halls as the new school resource officer.
She has been an Ottumwa police officer for two years. “I always had an interest in law,” she said. A stay-at-home mom, she was ready to do something more. With prior college experience, she applied for and attended Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
The position is a partnership, said Missy Carson Roark, principal. Employed by the Ottumwa Police Department, Overturf provides “law and safety,” she said. But she is also a teacher, providing 13-weeks of Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) to approximately 200 eighth graders. The training is evidence-based, and is designed to decrease delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership. “It’s about learning to avoid conflict,” she said.
Her position is about building relationships with both teachers and students. She spends the majority of her day walking the halls, but also does morning checks, lunch duty, and after school watch. “I don’t handle school discipline,” she said, but works with school administrators on issues. “My door is always open for kids as needed.”
She is excited about teaching and integrating a G.R.E.A.T. project this year. Students must complete a community service project prior to graduating from the program. The focus is on making their school a great place. “It’s about taking ownership of where they are at,” Overturf said.