CASPER, Wyo. — The Natrona County School District and the Casper Police Department issued a press release on Wednesday, May 15 stating that the number of School Resource Officers have tripled over the last year of their partnership.
“One year ago, the Natrona County School District (NCSD), the Casper Police Department (CPD), and the City of Casper partnered together to establish a plan to increase the number of School Resource Officers across the District,” the release reads.
“Since that time the number of School Resource Officers in schools has more than tripled. Currently, CPD has six active SRO’s in schools and the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office provides additional School Resource Officer services in rural schools. Additionally, the Evansville Police Department is working together with NCSD to offer SRO support in Evansville.”
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The release adds that School Resource Officers help ensure a school environment for student learning to flourish.
“School Resources Officers are a vital part of the partnership between NCSD and CPD,” the release reads. “Each SRO has a dedicated interest in continuing to promote and foster a positive relationship with students and the community while providing superior policing services and a dedication to the safety of the Casper community.”
Each Student Resource Officer is assigned to a specific school, which the release says allows them to foster relationships with students.
“’We are here to keep kids and staff safe while serving as a valuable resource to the school communities and that’s a duty that we value, strive to honor daily, and place as a high priority,’” the release quotes Officer Ty Mower. “’Just as importantly, we also want students to see a positive side of law enforcement, to know they can trust us, and see us in a positive way.’”
According to the release, the officers often visit classrooms in their assigned building and provide information about the risks of drugs and alcohol, teach them about responsible use of social media and other safety topics such as laws pertinent to juvenile crime.
“’Officer Galloway is my favorite person in the building,'” the release quotes an 8th grade Dean Morgan student. “‘I know that I have someone I can count on at school. I feel like no matter what it is, I can talk to him and he will help me. Plus, he’s pretty funny and good at basketball…but we always beat him.’”
Students can also directly report problems that they are aware of to the officers. Police Chief Keith McPheeters said that the police department values the relationships they can build with students.
“’We appreciate the opportunity to guide and mentor students, to be a sounding board for them as they navigate through the obstacles and challenges they may be facing,’” McPheeters is quoted as saying.
The school district has been working with law enforcement to improve school safety in various ways.
“Specifically, dedicated efforts have been made to collaborate with community agencies to provide schools with additional resources to ensure safe and healthy learning environments,” reads the release.
“Together with the State of Wyoming, NCSD and local law enforcement launched Safe2Tell Wyoming in 2016. The tip line has been a critical tool for students and community members to utilize to confidentially report behaviors that may be harmful or unsafe to oneself or the school environment.”
“Education, awareness, and early intervention to improve school safety are key components of the Safe2Tell Program. Working closely with the Safe2Tell program NCSD School Response Officers (SRO’s) strive to integrate these foundational components into their daily interactions with students.”
Other programs that have grown out of the partnership include Caring About Student Safety Success and auditing school facilities to ensure safety.
Both the police department and the school district say they are committed to continue their partnership.
CPD’s commitment to dedicate these police officers to serve directly in our schools has been an unqualified success,” the release states. “The Casper Police Department looks forward to enhancing the relationship with NCSD as well as improving the ongoing relationship with students in each school.
The Natrona County School District is committed to providing safe and healthy learning environments for students, staff, and school visitors. The Casper Police Department School Resource Officers (SRO’s) serve as an integral resource for ensuring safe and protected school communities.
The Casper Police Department and Natrona County School District will continue working together with students, staff, parents, partner law enforcement agencies, and our community to systematically create an environment which places the safety of all students, staff and school visitors as our top priority.CPD and NCSD