MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — School resource officers provide a sense of safety and crime prevention at schools across the country.
One of the pillars of the role is to serve as an informal counselor.
In Minot, there are resource officers at four schools, two for middle school and two for high school.
The goal is to promote a positive relationship between school youth and law enforcement officials through education, counseling, and law enforcement.
“I hope to change the stigma of law enforcement so they can see us in a positive light. I also want to be someone that the students will remember 20 years down the road and that hopefully, I can change their minds. Or some of my education pieces, or interactions, create a positive thing. Maybe keep them out of jail, keep them from getting in a car accident, keeping them safe,” said Jay Haaland, the school resource officer at Magic City Campus.
The SRO at Central Campus says the informal counseling part is special and used directly for students.
“We’re for that and they feel more comfortable once they get to know us coming in person to speak to a law enforcement officer for some advice or resources,” said Andres Casarez, the school resource officer at Central Campus.
And at Magic City Campus, it’s no different.
“We also know what’s going on outside of school, if they’re having issues with their family, with the law, so we can touch base on that and make a better connection in some ways,” said Haaland.
The two officers have been roaming the halls in schools since 2018.
And they have advice for students who may feel uneasy around law enforcement.
“We’re just regular people. We’re just wearing this uniform and we’re here for them,” said Casarez.
“We like dealing with the student population as well as the staff. We can easily, we try to make those connections. We want to seek them out and we want to be seen in a positive light,” added Haaland.
Minot Public Schools has had two school resource officers since 2013 and two more were added in 2018.