One school district is enhancing safety by doubling the amount of school resource officers.
Since 2014, two school resource officers have been at Minot Public Schools.
One at Magic City Campus, and another at Central Campus downtown.
This year, the city approved to add two more – one at each middle school.
Both the current and new SRO’s said their jobs are the same at all schools, but now they have the benefit of being able to reach kids at a younger age.
“We’re available – it’s an open door policy,” School Resource Officer Andres Casarez.
From school work, to issues at home, conflicts with their peers, or even just to talk — that’s what school resource officers are there for.
“It’s more of dealing with kids and their issues that’s happening in the schools, outside the schools, working with administrators, developing safety plans, things like that,” Caisee Sandusky, senior patrol officer and school resource officer, said.
She said building relationships with students is a huge help when it comes to providing a safe environment for everyone in the school.
But these officers are also prepared for issues that relationships can’t always solve – like an active shooter or a suicide.
They’re required to attend both national and local training programs.
“I think every day when we come to work, we know that there is a possibility that something terrible like that could happen,” Sandusky said.
“I think we have a mindset that we live in a rural, small community, and that those things may not happen here. But they very well can happen here. So every day you have that on your mind.”
Their work goes well beyond that, though.
“It’s a change, it’s more of a proactive type of policing versus reactive,” SRO Jay Haaland said.
Having the day-to-day presence can bridge the gap between youth, law enforcement, and parents.
The duties of an SRO differ from patrol officers.
This job comes with a triad of responsibility. Law enforcement, teacher, and informal counsel.
Some say there’s perks of the job, too.
“That’s probably been the best thing over the past three and a half years, is getting to know the kids,” Faken said. “Showing them that we’re not just someone in a uniform, that we’re actually just moms and dads and brothers and sisters, and we’re just people doing a job.”
With five years of experience as an SRO, senior officer Sandusky said that some of the training that’s required this year hasn’t been years past.
For instance, a social-emotional learning program that includes staff, SROs, and students.