The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday announced Sonya Shepard as its 2017 School Resource Officer of the Year.

Shepard has been with the Sheriff's Office since 2004 and has been a school resource officer since 2013. She has founded several community service and civic clubs at Destin Elementary School, including the Junior Deputy Leadership Posse, the AAA National Certified School Safety, the Character Counts Program and Books 2 Badges.

Shepard also takes time to teach various topics and reads to the children daily.

Recently, Shepard learned about a family that had escaped a domestic violence situation in another state and had moved to Destin. She reached out to the family and discovered they were forced to flee with only the clothes on their backs. 

In three days she was able to provide them with all the necessary household goods, clothes, gas cards, gift cards and more.

Shepard is the lead every year in the scheduling, recruiting and organizing vendors for the annual Youth Week.

She also collected more than 300 Coats for Kids this year for the United Way. That inspired one of her Character Counts students to donate all her birthday money to buy 20 new coats.

Shepard has achieved Career Deputy 1 and serves as a Crisis Negotiation Unit Negotiator.