Veteran deputy picked to be school officer

Ozaukee Press staff

Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Santino Valente will patrol the halls of Northern Ozaukee School District, Divine Savior Catholic School, St. Francis Borjia and the Riveredge Outdoor Learning Elementary School this upcoming fall.

Valente has served with the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office for 15 and a half years, which has taken him on a winding journey to prepare him for his new school resource officer role.

“I started actually undercover in our drug unit for about eight months and then I did five years in jail,” Valente said. “I’ve been in patrol for almost 10. I’ve been on our SWAT team for nine years now. I did five years as an entry guy, I was our preacher so I got to slam the doors, which was a lot of fun. Now I’ve been the last four years as a sniper.”

Supr. Dave Karrels is enthusiastic about the appointment and was impressed when he observed Valente’s interview for the position.

“I had the privilege of being able to sit on the interview committee and some of the words that were used to describe him were that he is a natural leader, high character and willing to step up in difficult times,” Karrels said. “I think that’s really key for someone in this role.”

Valente, a Random Lake resident and father of three, is excited to step outside his comfort zone and take on a more educational role with kids.

“It’ll be something different for me. I’ve been on patrol for almost 10 years, so I’ll be stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit, which I like,” Valente said. “It’s a new challenge but I like working with kids.”

Elementary School Principal Lynn Kucharski said Valente is great with kids. She said he visited an elementary school classroom where he displayed calm behavior and interacted well with the students.

Despite growing up in Mequon and attending Homestead High School, Valente still has ties to the district through his nephews.

“I actually grew up in Mequon and went Homestead, all my nephews went here,” Valente said. “My nephew Steve is one of the football coaches (at Northern Ozaukee). Hopefully, he’ll keep his ear to the ground and let me know what’s all happening.”

Valente will spend 80% of his time at Northern Ozaukee while splitting the remaining 20% between the three other schools.

Northern Ozaukee will pay roughly $30,000 toward Valente’s salary while St. Francis Borgia will contribute $3,800, Divine Savior $2,800 and Riveredge Outdoor Learning Elementary School  $900.

Valente will attend active shooter training and maintain a mentor relationship with Deputy Nick Holzer — the officer that currently works with the school, but has plans to retire.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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