Officer Tony Pate honored with Southlake Kiwanis Heart of Service Award
Officer Tony Pate, the School Resource Officer at Dawson Middle School was honored as the Southlake Kiwanis Clubs recipient of the Sgt. John Stokes Heart of Service award. The Heart of Service Award was created by the Southlake Kiwanis Club to annually recognize an outstanding SRO.
As part of the ceremony, Dawson Middle School eight-grade Student Ava Sexton shared her thoughts on Officer Pate and how he makes the Dawson’s students day with his engagement, be it a high-five or a question on how she’s doing. As part of her speech, she shared other comments from fellow students who described Officer Pate as “noble, thoughtful, willing, considerate, funny, caring, courageous, and even intimidating.”
Nikki Leonard, the principal at Dawson Middle School and Southlake Mayor John Huffman were also part of the presentation along with Southlake Kiwanis President Elizabeth Whatley.
The SRO Heart of Service Award is named in honor of Sgt. John Stokes. Sgt. Stokes was the first recipient of the award and was the supervisor for the Southlake Police Department’s SRO program. Sgt. Stokes passed suddenly at just 55 years old from a heart attack in November of 2020. Southlake Police Chief James Brandon stated at the time that “John had a long law enforcement career, but our School Resource Officer program’s leadership is a great example of the heart that he had for protecting others."
Last year’s award recipient was Kim Smith, the SRO at Walnut Grove Elementary School. She, as well as the other SROs were in attendance at the ceremony which was held at the DPS Headquarters.
Over the last two years, the Southlake Police Department’s SRO program has been recognized statewide and nationally and has received a multitude of awards.
In 2021, TASRO (Texas Association of School Resource Officers) awarded the Southlake Police Department with the “SRO Program of the Year.” Also in 2021, Officer Tony Pate received the NASRO (National Association of School Resource Officers) Valor Award for his efforts in disarming a mentally-disturbed subject who had visible blood on his hands and clothing, all within 500 feet of students and staff arriving at Carroll Middle School.
Most recently, Officer Brett Roberson received the TASRO Officer of the Year award in 2022.
A key component of our Carroll Independent School District’s Safety strategy, the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program was started in the late 1990s with SROs active in the middle schools and High schools. In 2013, following the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, an SRO was placed at every Carroll ISD school to support each campus.
The promise to support the highest school safety standards continued in 2018 with the commitment to place one additional SRO at each high school, install rifle-rated protected glass, and other behind-the-scenes enhancements.
In 2022, following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the program expanded again with the addition of four more licensed peace officers. It will now consist of 19 officers; a Captain, a Sergeant, and a Corporal, who will lead a team of 16 SROs.
Southlake Kiwanis is a local service organization that enhances the community by improving the lives of children. As part of Kiwanis International, they focus on various service projects, assist with Miracle League, and the Stalcup Heart of a Dragon award and scholarship. Kiwanis also sponsor and mentor the Key Club which helps student develop leadership skills and gain the benefits of community service and sponsor two scholarships. You can join or get more information on the club at facebook.com/SouthlakeKiwanis or kiwanisofsouthlake.org.