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Aug 04

Why Police Officers in Schools?

Posted on August 4, 2017 at 3:15 PM by Kristy Bansemer

The Derby Police Department is committed to positively affecting the lives of youth in our community. One of the first encounters children in Derby may have with police is in a school setting.

Perhaps it is more important than ever before in our nation’s history for police officers and youth to establish positive relationships. The earlier we establish a positive connection, the better. In Derby, we attempt to do this in several ways. One of the most prominent is the School Resource Officer (SRO) program.

We have two SROs in Derby High School and one in each middle school. These officers interact with thousands of school kids each day. SROs serve as role models and mentors. They help dispel stereotypes sometimes associated with the police. SROs help mediate conflicts, offer guidance and teach specific programs for youth. SROs make a difference in the lives of children while maintaining a safe educational experience.

All SROs teach Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) throughout the community for 5th grade children. This is often the first formal drug education and awareness many children receive. I am certain most Derby High School graduates still remember the name of their DARE Officer and can recall the experience.

The Derby Police Department also has two Adopt-A-School officers. These officers are assigned to Swaney and El Paso elementary schools. Their goal is to create a positive image of police officers with children while they are at a very young age. Adopt-A-School officers spend 3-4 hours per week at these schools. They serve as role models, teach on various safety topics, and eat lunch with students. Most importantly, students see them as approachable and as friends.

The Derby Police Department is proud of its commitment to building vital youth partnerships.

Matt Liston
Matt Liston, MPO
Community Education Section

Published in the Derby Informer on Aug. 2, 2017.