NPD SRO Ashley Rich

 

NORWAY — Norway Police Officer and SRO Ashley Rich, 35, of Mexico is not new to law enforcement. She is, however, new to Norway, The Guy E. Rowe School and being a School Resource Officer.

And she’s loving it.

Rich grew up in Byron and graduated Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. She then moved to Arizona to go to college, earning a degree in business. Afterwards, she came back to Maine and worked for a bit at both Rumford Community Hospital and CMMC.

Leaving healthcare, she took a job “working the desk” with the Rumford Police Department and “fell in love with law enforcement,” she says.

“I got in shape,” she laughs, “I was never athletic, I was a desk person. Then I went through Basic Law Enforcement at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro and was hired as an office in Rumford.

“I was there for five years,” she says, “and then Doug Maifeld beat me out for the SRO position, so I applied here.”

Rumford’s loss was Norway’s gain.

Rich was in the first class to be certified as a Maine SRO at the academy. She began work with Norway in August.

Rich finds her new community and school “lovely,” but takes a lot of focus. “In Rumford I knew everybody…I grew up there. But, here,” she says, “I have to learn the families, kids and stuff … it’s a lot of fun but it’s a lot…”

As SRO, she explains, her “first and foremost duty is the safety of the school…security. And tied to that is community policing, establishing relationships with the kids, staff and families…it’s going well.”

As students walk by, they call out “hello Officer Rich, hello Officer Ashley.”

“They can call me whatever they’re comfortable with,” she laughs.

She notes how the children are still getting used to school after COVID – most of last year’s schooling was done remotely – getting used to each other and the structure of the school day.

And she has had some early successes.

“Several very truant students are now coming to school fairly regularly,” she beams, “we have built relationships and established behavior expectations, and some of them even like school!”

She explains that although as SRO she is primarily a police officer so she may get called out of school during the day if there is an incident that warrants it.

However, her time as an SRO isn’t just at school during school hours. She is on a number of committees at school, including attendance, safety, and support team and she tries to help out with youth league soccer, works lunch duty, “anything to interact with the kids,” she explains.

“Sometimes on my time,” she says, “sometimes out of uniform.”

And if her kids at school don’t keep her busy, she has two kids at home – a five-year-old and a 10-year-old – both boys.

 

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