There is a new sheriff in town in the Sandwich Public Schools—in a manner of speaking.
Sandwich Police Officer Jessica Kent has been serving the district as the interim School Resource Officer for the past few weeks, stepping into the position following the pending retirement of Officer Christa Cabral.
Officer Kent said that the interim position is evaluative to see if she will be a good fit for the schools. The position could become permanent by the middle of December.
A seven-year veteran of the Sandwich Police Department, Officer Kent said that she is sad to see Officer Cabral leave the position, but added that she has wanted to be a school resource officer since joining the department.
“I absolutely thrive on making a difference in their lives,” she said of the students.
Being involved with children and adolescents is nothing new to Officer Kent, who is a hockey coach for the Seahawks—a youth hockey organization based in Hyannis. She said that her experience in working with young people as a coach has helped with her transition into the schools over the past few weeks.
She said that she wants to work with students to help them develop life skills and is particularly focused on mental well-being, especially during the pandemic.
“With COVID I feel like some kids are being missed,” she said.
While her assignment is currently considered temporary, Officer Kent has been making her presence known on the campuses of the schools.
In the mornings, she can be seen greeting buses and families as they enter the grounds to drop of students. She has also popped into classes to introduce herself personally to students.
She said that she wants students to know that she is approachable—even if they just need someone to talk to about life for five minutes while they decompress, she wants them to know that she is there.
“If I’m an extra resource for them, that’s huge,” she said.
Connecting with people to make a difference in their lives is part of the reason Officer Kent decided to become a police officer.
Prior to joining the police department, Officer Kent was a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. She is a graduate of Curry College in Milton and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. She is a member of the Sandwich Police Department’s Honor Guard and the ATV Unit. She is also one of the departments Sexual Assault Investigators, a field training officer, and Women’s Safety Course instructor.
She has taught both the annual courses offered to adult women, but has also been an instructor when the safety course has been offered to the young women in the senior class at Sandwich High School.
Additionally, Officer Kent is a member of the Massachusetts Association of Women in Law Enforcement.
Officer Cabral had been the towns’ school resource officer for ten years and Officer Kent said that she has been left with big shoes to fill. Officer Kent said that she is looking forward to building on the foundation that Officer Cabral laid.
“I’m super pumped to be in the position,” she said. “If I can make a difference in one kid’s life, I’m doing my job.”