Third sheriff’s deputy to patrol Eagle Co. schools
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY ” There will be a slightly larger police presence in Eagle County schools.
The school district is adding one more law enforcement officer ” a position called a school resource officer ” to patrol hallways.
There are already two officers assigned to the district, one who watches over schools on the east end of the valley, and the other on the west. The new officer would focus mainly on midvalley schools like Berry Creek Middle School, Edwards Elementary and Red Canyon High School, said Mike Gass, director of secondary education.
Their first job is to become trusted faces, people kids know they can go to with their problems. The officers patrol the hallways as they would patrol a neighborhood, watching for trouble, listening to complaints and developing relationships with students.
“Many kids think if they’re talking to an officer, they’re getting in trouble for something, but it shouldn’t be like that,” said Shannon Cordingly, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office. “This is a way, though, for them to interact with the kids in a more positive manner.”
Resource officers investigate cases involving school property, like theft or vandalism, or any case where a student might be a victim or a suspect. Drugs and alcohol are common problems at school, and whenever students are caught or suspected of substance abuse, school resource officers get involved.
The officers also are there to counsel students and answer questions. They’ve even been known to be substitute teachers and give lessons on substance abuse in class.
Having a third officer would allow each of the officers to spend more time in each of the schools, Cordingly said. The two officers now stay pretty busy and are always on-the-go.
Now, they’ll be able to focus more on teachings kids about drugs, alcohol and bullying, Cordingly said.
The sheriff’s office believes having these officers patrolling the schools is a strong crime deterrent, which is especially important when you think about student safety and that always lingering possibility of school violence.
“They know to be on their toes, that they’re being watched,” Cordingly said.
The school district is splitting the cost of the school resource officer with the county.
Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.