School Resource Officers daily duties and how they could be affected by budget cuts
RIVERTON, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -
With education cuts being discussed in the legislature, school resource officers that are funded solely by schools may be considered. Although the Fremont County School District 25 in Riverton has prioritized the officers in their budget, and the district said they don’t want any cuts to affect the officers, the officers’ funding comes out of the general budget, which may be slashed extensively from statewide budget cuts.
What some may not realize, is that Fremont County School District 25 school resource officers are contracted through the school to look out for the young people’s safety all year round. When school is out, the officers help with summer camps for kids, and act as security in places where young people congregate.
“It’s kind of hard to tell if you’re making a difference or not or building relationships, and in the summertime we go back to patrol on the street. I built enough relationships throughout the school year, that my first week back on the street was actually beneficial to me in patrol,” stated School Resource Officer Tyler Larsen, who works at Riverton Middle School.
Officer Larsen went on to say that it became clear a connection had been made in the school when he was dispatched to an apartment complex that some students were at, and they were very cooperative and even helpful gathering information about the incident. School Resource Officer at Riverton High School, Charles Marshall explained, “With the way our job breaks down, I think you can consider an SRO as a teacher, a counselor, and a law enforcement officer.”
The officers say they try to provide guidance, structure, and a listening ear that a student may not find at home. “Here at the high school level, they’ll come into my office and they’ll talk about issues, concerns, problems at home,” added Officer Marshall.
“Those relationships, you’re not going to save all the kids, but if we can steer them down a different path than maybe what they’re headed down, I think that’s a success for us, and for them as well,” emphasized Officer Marshall. The progress a child makes is one of the most rewarding experiences for these officers. “Last year there were some kids that were super scared to even see an officer in the school,” recalled School Resource Officer Scott Christoffersen, who rotates his duties at the elementary schools in Riverton.
Officer Christoffersen says it’s important to make an effort with these students, simple things like saying hi and giving them high fives.
“Those same kids that at the beginning of the year were scared to see me, would now run up and give me hugs as they were transferring from their bus to the next bus, so it was good to see a change,” articulated Officer Christoffersen.
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