In 1999 the department was awarded a grant for a deputy to be hired for the purpose of working in the schools. The school resource officer (SRO) worked with all the schools in the county of Washington with the exception of the Blair School District which is the responsibility of the Blair Police Department. Currently, Deputy Greg Byelick is the School Resource Officer for Fort Calhoun Schools and Deputy Ashley Judkins is the School Resource Officer for Arlington Schools.
The School Resource Officer is a special program designed to break down the walls between youth and law enforcement. To accomplish this, a “triad” approach is taken. First and foremost, the SRO is a Law Enforcement Officer. He or she is responsible for enforcing State and Local Laws, conducting investigations on school property, and sometimes arresting the violators. As long as the SRO is fair and consistent with penalties, he or she can do this and still maintain report with the students and staff.
Secondly, the SRO is a teacher. Due to training in both the academy and the field, he or she is able to answer specific legal questions students and staff members have. Questions ranging from case law, accident responsibility, and how the legal system works to simple citations can and are discussed.
Thirdly, the SRO is a counselor. Although it is true that in most cases a SRO does not have a degree in professional counseling, personal experience as well as “street” experience plays a valuable role. Conflict resolution, mediation in an argument, and just plain being a friend to talk to are all things that any law enforcement official can do, and does do on a regular basis.
All in all, the SRO is the perfect example of community policing. The school is it’s own community; complete with laws and regulations, a system of government, and a police force. The SRO walks their beat and tries to learn all that they can about the people that make up the community and how to most effectively deal with problems.
Feel free to contact this office if you have specific questions.