Natrona County School District Recognizes Local Partners on School Resource Officer Appreciation Day
It's not always a glamorous job.
The Natrona County School District, in collaboration with the Casper Police Department, the Natrona County Sheriff's Office, and the Evansville Police Department have come together to offer a sincere 'Thank You' to the School Resource Officers who work within the school district.
"The strong partnership these professionals have with the schools and the positive influence they have on the lives of students in our community makes a difference each day," a joint press release from those aforementioned organizations said.
According to the release, the Casper Police Department currently has six active SRO's in schools, including a Sergeant. Additionally, the Natrona County Sheriff's Office provides SRO's to rural schools in Natrona County, while the Evansville Police Department has an SRO as well.
The duties and responsibilities of School Resource Officers are vast and varied. The release stated that throughout the school year, SRO's "visit classrooms to help educate students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol, appropriate social media use, laws regarding juvenile crime, and other safety topics. By building these relationships of mutual trust and respect, students are provided the direct opportunity to report activities and crimes they are aware of that impact the safety of their learning environment and the community."
Additionally, NCSD officials partner with their local law enforcement teams to work on ideas that support the District Comprehensive Framework for School Safety. This includes programs such as 'Caring About Student Success (CASS) and performing facility safety audits and providing quarterly analysis' to "help support our collective commitment to safe and health learning environments."
These teams also worked together to launch the Safe2Tell Wyoming program in 2016. This program was a way for students and community members to confidentially report behaviors that could be harmful or unsafe to people or property.
"Education, awareness, and early intervention to improve school safety are key components of the Safe2Tell Program," the release stated. "Working closely with the Safe2Tell program, School Resource Officers (SRO’s) strive to integrate these foundational components into their daily interactions with students."
This partnership isn't just officers coming in once a year to give a D.A.R.E. talk anymore. This is a lasting relationship to improve the lives of students, ensuring that they know they are safe and taken care of.
“We are proud to help shape the future of our community. It’s a duty that we value, strive to honor daily, and place as a high priority. We are here to keep kids and staff safe while serving as a valuable resource to the school,” said Casper Police Department Sergeant Jones. “We work to create positive relationships with our community, we want students to see a positive side of law enforcement, to know they can trust us, and they can count on us.”
Students and faculty can also count on the deputies of the Natrona County Sheriff's Office.
“We’re grateful to have the opportunity to provide a safe educational environment in our schools," said NCSO Sheriff John Harlin. "Our deputies enjoy mentoring students and supporting the work teachers and staff do in our local classrooms."
Chief Thompson of the Evansville Police Department said that it's the students who make the job worthwhile and it's the relationship developed with students that matter most.
“The interactions with the students is of the most importance," Chief Thompson said. "The kids like to see the officers and they get to see that we are human just like everybody else. It builds those positive relationships. It also helps the kids know that they are safe here."
The partnership between these law enforcement agencies and the Natrona County School District is pivotal. It creates a sense of trust between students and officers, which builds a lasting, positive impression that will last far beyond graduation.
“We are incredibly fortunate for and grateful to the Casper Police Department, Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, Evansville Police Department, Mills Police Department, Wyoming Highway Patrol, and all others who assist us in providing safe and healthy learning environments for students, staff, and school visitors,” shared Superintendent Mike Jennings. “School Resource Officers (SRO’s) serve as an integral resource for ensuring safe and protected school communities. We appreciate their work today and always.”
It's not always a glamourous job. It's not tracking down criminals and tackling them through a window to the street below. It's not a highspeed chase or a shootout or solving a cold case from 1976.
But it's important.
Its educating students on things they can do to better their lives. It's providing a safe place for young people who may not have that anywhere else. It's offering a kind word, or a hug, or even just a smile to a kid who might be having a really, really bad day. It's all of these things and more and it happens on a daily basis in Casper schools.
These School Resource Officers are just that; they're resources. They're somebody a student can go to and know that they're in good hands. These men and women are pivotal; not only to the schools but to the community as a whole. And for this reason, and so many others, we simply say 'Thank You.'