By Christina Rice

Maryville Public Safety Sergeant Rick Smail will begin a new career adventure in February 2017.

St. Gregory’s students Rylee Steins, Malexa Aley and Emma Simmerman gave Smail a sign their class made.

St. Gregory’s students Rylee Steins, Malexa Aley and Emma Simmerman gave Smail a sign their class made.

Smail is retiring from Maryville Public Safety (MPS) after 28 years and is joining the Nodaway County Sheriff’s Department.

Smail joined MPS on December 26, 1988, after serving as a reserve officer for three months. His brother had been working in the department as an investigator then transferred to Paola, KS, creating an opening on the force for Smail.

In 1990, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program began and Smail and Clarence Gould were sent for training. Smail has worked the past 26 years as the local DARE officer, visiting schools and teaching students about the dangers of drugs.

Maryville Public Safety Officer Ian Meyers will be the new Maryville DARE officer.

“The kids will love Ian. He received top marks in his training,” Smail stated.

Smail will be heading up the new Nodaway County DARE program through the Nodaway County Sheriff’s Department. Beginning in 2017, Smail will focus on reaching sixth grade students and will offer K-sixth grade programs at the beginning of next school year.

“I’m sad I won’t be in the class with my Maryville kids anymore, but I’m excited to bring the program to the county,” Smail said. “I’m looking forward to being with the kids in the county schools and bringing them the DARE program.”

The county has previously provided the DARE program, but not consistently due to a lack of time. Although Smail’s focus will be the DARE program, he is also certified as a school resource officer and hopes to spend half a day in each county school, visiting two schools a day throughout the week.

“We have strong support in Maryville and we want the county to be the same,” Smail said.

He hopes to increase DARE donations and funding and possibly merge city and county DARE auction dinners allowing the funds to be equally distributed.

Smail is also retiring from grounds and water patrol at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park, where he served 16 years. In the summer, he will help the court systems and cover all the local fairs and festivals in order to continue making connections with students.

Lieutenant Ron Christian will take his place at Mozingo.

“I wanted to keep going. I knew if I retired, I would miss the kids. It’s going to be a neat adventure,” Smail stated.