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RCS Safe Schools director receives Hometown Hero Award

April 29, 2022

Child Advocacy Center

Rutherford County Schools’ safe schools director was one of five community leaders who received the 2022 Hometown Hero awards Friday from the Child Advocacy Center.

Safe Schools Director Patty Oeser earned the award with Department of Children’s Services Child Protective Services Team Leader Art Dinkins, Murfreesboro Police Detective Michael Yates, Our Kids Director of Expansion Dr. Lisa Milam and CAC leader Jessica Ramos Wauchek.

Center Director Sharon De Boer and board member Terry Fann presented the awards during Child Abuse Prevention Month at the 7th Annual Hometown Heroes Walk for Children.

“Each of these Hometown Heroes is a passionate advocate for children,” De Boer said. “They are servant leaders who have dedicated their careers to making our community a better place for children and families.”

Oeser served as a dispatcher, patrol deputy, school resource officer, and detective for 24 years with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office. 

She is currently the Rutherford County Safe Schools Director where she continues to make a difference in the lives of Rutherford County children and youth. 

Before transferring from the Sheriff’s Office, Oeser worked as a family crimes unit detective responding to child physical and sexual abuse cases.  She taught classes about internet safety to students and parents and she handled the sex offender registry.

Oeser served on the Tennessee Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force comprised of the FBI, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement.

As part of the task force, she investigated a Milton man accused of using sextortion of girls online in a western state and in Germany. The FBI describes sextortion as a crime that happens online when an adult convinces a minor child to share sexual pictures or perform acts on a webcam.

While a detective, Oeser investigated a church youth education director who was indicted on charges of statutory rape of a girl beginning when she was 13 years old. The former director pleaded guilty in February and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

She was honored with a Department of Children’s Services Child Abuse Prevention Month Award in 2018 because she responded whenever Child Protective Services investigators needed her help in child abuse cases.

 

PHOTO / JAMES EVANS

Rutherford County Schools Safe Schools Director Patty Oeser, right, received a Hometown Hero Award today from the Child Advocacy Center of Rutherford County. She is seen standing here with former District Attorney Bill Whitesell, who is board member with CAC.