Every day school resource officers put the safety and well-being of children first. They work hard to prevent crime and delinquent behavior and to provide a safe environment for our children. The selfless work of Florida's school resource officers deserves to be recognized, which is why the Attorney General's Office partnered with the Florida Association of School Resource Officers to present a school resource officer of the year award.
This year, we recognized Deputy Ural Darling of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office as the 2011 School Resource Officer of the Year. The award was presented at the 32nd annual conference of the Florida Association of School Resource Officers in Orlando. More than 300 law enforcement officers from around the state recognized Deputy Darling's positive influence on youth.
Deputy Darling began his career in law enforcement in 1995 with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. In 2001, he was assigned to the School Resource Officer Unit for Osceola Middle School, where he has made a positive impact on the school's environment and safety. Between 2001 and 2011, there has been an 86 percent decrease in the number of students arrested, from 83 in 2001 to 12 in 2011. Additionally, Deputy Darling teaches personal safety classes, counsels new students, and works with administrators on behavioral solutions for struggling students.
Deputy Darling has earned the trust and respect of the students, teachers, and administrators of the Pinellas County School District and is a remarkable example for the students. We are fortunate to have community leaders who are so dedicated to our youth.