Students being served pizza by SRO Deputy Ryan Justus

As a unique way to build a relationship with students at W.D. Williams Elementary, School Resource Officer (SRO) Ryan Justus held a CandyLand competition before the Winter break with Kindergarten through Second grade students. 

This was the first time Deputy Justus held the tournament, and he feels that it was a great opportunity to connect with the students he serves and protects. 

“I am with these kids everyday interacting with them,” he said. “They have to be able to trust me no matter what the situation may be. Sometimes I may just be a listening ear for them, and other times I may teach them something that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.” 

Teaching the students life skills and lessons is what Deputy Justus is all about. 

“I felt like the CandyLand tournament was important for several reasons,” he explained. “In the game you may be at the top of the board, and the next card you pull may put you right back to where you started. Life is very similar to that, as sometimes things don’t always go our way. We also worked on our colors, and counting throughout the game.” 

Several members of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office helped celebrate the winning students with a pizza lunch. The guest of honor was Deputy Kora who is the BCSO’s emotional support dog. 

“For this to be the first tournament I have done it went great,” Deputy Justus said. “The kids congratulated each winner. I held a pizza party for each winner from each class. I must say that the party was awesome. The kids loved being with the deputies and having lunch with them.”

Deputy Justus said he is currently in the middle of the tournament at Black Mountain Primary. He has hopes to do something for the older grades as well and will make this a tradition for years to come. 

Students visiting with the Buncombe County Sheriff Department's therapy dog Deputy Kora