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Northern Lehigh school police officer wins prestigious award

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    Northern Lehigh School District police officer Frank Gnas, at right, proudly accepts the National Association of School Resource Officers Regional Exceptional Service Award for Region 3 from high school Principal Robert Vlasaty at Monday night’s school board meeting. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS

Published September 11. 2018 12:20PM

A Northern Lehigh School District police officer has been recognized for winning an esteemed award.

Superintendent Matthew Link announced at Monday’s school board meeting that school police officer Frank Gnas had earned the lofty accolade.

Link then deferred to high school Principal Robert Vlasaty, who said that Gnas was nominated for, and won, the National Association of School Resource Officers Regional Exceptional Service Award for Region 3.

Vlasaty — who nominated Gnas for the award — noted that there are nine regions that NASRO recognizes in the country, and that Region 3 consists of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

“Our school police officer, Frank Gnas, won one of those nine awards due to his exceptional contributions and dedication to our students, staff and community,” Vlasaty said. “He has contributed not only to the safety and security of Northern Lehigh School District during school hours and at after-school events, but he is immersed in our school community and culture.”

Vlasaty said Gnas also has an “excellent working relationship” with the Slatington Police Department, and has collaborated with them with incidents that had the potential to compromise the safety of the district’s schools.

“Officer Gnas has made quite an impact on our schools, district and community, to say the least,” Vlasaty said. “Despite his busy schedule, you can often find him taking time out to help a teacher carry supplies in the building, or seek out a student with special needs to motivate him through his day.”

Vlasaty added, “Officer Gnas is more than ‘just a cop.’ He is someone our students, staff and our community as a whole can trust to help them whenever they are in need.”

“I am proud to congratulate officer Frank Gnas of the Northern Lehigh School District for winning the Regional Exceptional Service Award for Region 3 by the National Association for School Resource Officers,” he said.

After the meeting, Gnas said he was grateful for the distinction.

“I’m very thankful that my colleagues could nominate me for such a prestigious award, especially Mr. Vlasaty, who was part of this program forming from the beginning,” Gnas said. “It is a great undertaking as a police officer, and takes a special type of police officer to interact with children in all different levels.”

Gnas said he’s appreciative to everyone who has played a role in his success.

“It definitely is an exciting award, and I’m very humbled and happy to know that my staff, the school board, community, and most importantly, my family, supports my position as a police officer in Northern Lehigh,” he said. “My wife and two children are always proud when I come home from work and get to talk about wonderful interactions with the students and what occurred throughout the day.”

Gnas was quick to extol praise on several of his colleagues.

“I wouldn’t have come this far without the support of Slatington Police Chief Dave Rachman and Detective Tim Wagner, who are my rocks in the law enforcement community,” he said. “Mr. Link and (Assistant to the Superintendent) Dr. (Tania) Stoker are doing a phenomenal job, and we have the best staff.”

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