MERIDEN, Kan. (WIBW) There are a total of two School Resources Officers for Jefferson County’s six school districts, which means each one has a lot of ground to cover.
Sgt. Dana Boyer with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office greets a student in between passing period at Jefferson West Middle School.
Sgt. Dana Boyer doesn't let that phase her one bit, and you can see it on her face. Boyer has been a fixture in the hallways of the Jeff West, Oskaloosa, and Valley Falls School Districts for the past 18 years.
“My husband jokes that we can’t go anywhere without running into somebody I currently have as a student or have had in the past that want to run out and give you a hug or give you a high five,” says Boyer.
“She’s one of those kid magnets,” according to Jefferson West Middle School Principal John Hamon. “When kids come in the building, they are around her.”
It's easy to see why Boyer is so well liked. Her big smile and warm hello are enough to make anyone she encounters feel like a million bucks.
It works both ways.
"They make me feel young," she says.
Her ability to connect is making a difference and opening eyes across the state. After only 3 years of teaching the D.A.R.E. program, Boyer was presented the D.A.R.E Officer of the year award by the Kansas Juvenile Officers Association.
“I tell my 5th Graders that I know you might not like everybody in your class, but I demand respect. I demand that you are respectful to one another,” says Boyer.
While her obligations with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are mostly inside the schools she serves, she’s also on standby should someone outside need help.
“If there’s a call that’s close to one of our schools and we happen to be the closest, then we will respond until road officer can get there,” says Boyer.
While that doesn’t happen much, Boyer recalls jumping into action on the afternoon of August 27th, 2004 -- it was a day that rocked the entire community.
“I was the first officer on the scene. To know that I had just seen her in the hallways of the high school, and she left school and it happened. It was a tragedy,” she said.
Junior Ericka Agee was lost her life that day in a car accident as she was heading to golf practice. Boyer was the one who had to tell her father she was gone.
Agee was the second student to die in a crash along that stretch of K-4 highway in Meriden in less than a year.
Another one of Boyer’s students, Michelle Traxler died on December 11, 2003 after she was hit by an oncoming tractor trailer.
Boyer was part of the movement that convinced K-DOT to lower the speed limit through town from 55 to 45 miles per hour.
In addition to her day job duties, Boyer has spent the past 15 years as a member of the Meriden City Council. She left her post at the end of the year for a bit of a promotion, you could say.
“I am the mayor of Meriden,” Boyer said with a laugh.
Boyer took office in January after claiming 78% of the vote in a write-in campaign.
"She's cool and does a lot for the city of Meriden," says former DARE student Emma Herring.
Boyer's husband is also a Sergeant for the Jefferson Co. Sheriff's Office, and the part-time Chief of Police for the Meriden Police Department.
The two have two boys, one who attends Johnson County Community College, the other is a 7th Grader at Jefferson West Middle School.
Boyer graduated from Seaman High School in Topeka but has lived in Meriden for more than 20 years.