Imposing resource officer protects everyone at Viera Charter School
Cpl. Colin Kearns, a resource officer and safety specialist at Viera Charter School, receives a high five from kindergarten student Isaiah Peter in the school hallway.
VIERA VOICE Ernest Arico
If you plan on causing any trouble at Viera Charter School, you’d better think twice.
That’s because you’ll have to deal with Cpl. Colin Kearns — all 6 feet, 9 inches tall and 265 pounds of him.
To say that Kearns is an imposing figure is an understatement. And with the tattoos on both arms you get a very quick, first impression that this is one person you don’t want to mess around with.
“I’m really a very nice guy,” Kearns laughed. “I know I look big to the elementary and middle school students, but I’m not scary to them. I’m just a big officer here to protect the school.”
Kearns is a 1998 graduate of Rockledge High School and a 2005 graduate from the Florida Institute of Technology with a bachelor of science degree in forensic psychology.
Following his graduation from Florida Tech, Kearns became a high school teacher at his alma mater — Rockledge — where he taught a variety of subjects for three years.
In December 2009, Kearns fulfilled a life-long dream and joined the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
He served for four years and eight months in the G.A.M.E.O.V.E.R. (Gangs and Major Epidemic of Violence Enforcement Response) Task Force. The unit is a collaborative effort addressing criminal activity in Brevard County due to gangs.
It is a partnership between the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Cocoa Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Melbourne Police Department, Palm Bay Police Department, Rockledge Police Department, Titusville Police Department and Brevard/Seminole State Attorney’s Office and includes federal and state criminal justice partners from various disciplines such as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Florida Department of Corrections (Parole and Probation), Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Department of Juvenile Justice and Central Florida’s Crime Line.
In August, Kearns became Viera Charter School’s resource officer and safety specialist. Joining the school as its resource officer was a “no brainer” for Kearns.
“I come from a family of teachers,” he said. “My wife is a teacher and I have two children in the fourth and seventh grades. It’s a great opportunity for me to combine my teaching with law enforcement in one place.”
Some of Kearns’ daily school routines include helping out with traffic in the morning and afternoon; walking the school’s perimeter; monitoring the hallways and lunch room, and meeting with students and teachers in the classroom.
“I’m super happy at what I’m doing,” he said. “I get the chance to teach students, teachers and staff about the importance of safety.”
In addition to those daily duties, Kearns holds monthly patrol meetings with students and teachers on a variety of safety topics.
“For example, I try to teach students on what they should do if a teacher faints or gets ill,” he said.
Kearns said Viera Charter School administrators, staff and teachers have gone “above and beyond” to make the school a very secure one for its students.
“I’m very impressed with what they have done here,” he said. “Parents should be very happy with the security systems and measures we have in place.”
Kearns said he has received “positive” feedback from parents about school safety. “I’ve spoken at a couple of PTSO meetings and the reaction has been very positive.”
What has really impressed Kearns the most has been student reactions to his presence on campus. “Every single day a student comes up to me and says thank you for your service,” he said. “It blew me away. I get high fives every day from students.”
Kearns said his first responsibility at the school is to protect the students. “Considering what is going on in the world today and what has happened at many schools, my job is to make sure everyone is safe at the school.
“I am responsible for over 1,000 kids at the Viera Charter School,” he added. “And I will do whatever it takes to protect then. I treat these kids like they are my own.”
Besides working for the Sheriff’s Office, Kearns coaches basketball at Kennedy Middle School in Rockledge and will coach fifth and sixth graders at Viera Charter School.
For more information about the Brevard Public Schools school safety program, go to brevardschools.org.
For additional information about Viera Charter School, go to vieracharterschool.com.