When students in the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District return from their holiday vacation in January, a new face will become part of the students' daily routine.

"The police officers will bridge the gap between the youth of Newcomerstown and the police department so they can provide a better relationship," Newcomerstown Superintendent Jeff Staggs said.

Because of that, Community Policing was born.

Patty Hendricks, a dispatcher for the Newcomerstown Police Department and an employee in Public Records in Newcomerstown, wanted a program where students could be a friend to a police officer.

Hendricks said an officer will be in all four Newcomerstown school buildings (East, West, middle school and high school) at various times throughout the day.

For younger children, the officer will be on the playgrounds at recess and in the cafeterias at lunch time. For older students, the officer will be in the hallways when classes change and in the cafeterias at lunch time.

The officers will be "be-friending the kids," Hendricks said.

As far as who funds the program, Hendricks said she is working on several grants to pay for the officers. However, when the program is up and running at full force, they would like to have two police officers in the schools at various times throughout the day.

The police officers will also be armed so that they may protect students in case of an intruder or other emergency.

"This is problem solving before it becomes an issue," Hendricks said. "We're developing a positive relationship."