Deputy French, who was killed on Aug. 30 in an officer-involved shooting, was well known for his ability to de-escalate a situation with his words.
One place that his communication skills will be missed is in the classroom. Deputy French often responded to calls at Dyer Kelley Elementary. Assistant Principal Tammi Shelton remembers how he took a special liking to the school.
"In his 21 years, he chose to work here. It wasn't somewhere he was placed," Shelton said. The deputy regularly worked with students with troubled attitudes.
Anthony Brooks is a campus representative. One of his jobs is to watch students during recess. Deputy French helped him with a young boy who climbed a tree and would not come down.
"It was like he was talking someone off a ledge." Brooks said. "Officer French talked that kid down from the tree and got him to stay on campus."
It was Deputy French's goal to keep kids in school. He did that by listening to their problems and sharing his life experiences.
Throughout Dyer Elementary, the word ROAR is posted all over walls. It's an acronym that stands for Respect, Owning your choices, Always being safe and Responsibility. It's a motto that Deputy French adopted and aimed to teach others.
"He lived that every day by being a positive role model," Vice Principal Tammi Shelton said.
The gunman that shot Deputy French took more than a man of law. The gunman took a man who could talk to troubled children and turn them around.
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