PLATTSMOUTH – A few years back the Cass County Sheriff’s Department took on the duties of a school resource officer in the Plattsmouth Community School District.
The officer’s duties cover all five schools in the district.
“The main job of a school resource officer is the safety of the school, not the disciplinary action,” said Lt. Larry Burke. “The school still handles discipline, while for the school resource officer it’s the safety of the staff and students.”
Specific duties for this officer include the development of a positive relationship with students, a person they can confide in, Burke said.
The creation of safety programs is another duty, he added.
Three department officers passed a training class with one of them being the school district’s full-time resource officer with the other two still working in the sheriff’s department, but qualified to step in if needed.
Though there seems to be no major safety or disruptive concerns, the district has nonetheless requested a second officer to help ease the load, Burke said.
“The school board is proactive and wants to stay ahead of this (potential problems),” Burke said.
The plan is to have this new officer in the schools full-time by January, he said.
The department wants to host a basic training session run by the National Association of School Resource Officers in late November. Three officers of the department have been chosen for this class, he said. Again, one would serve as a full-time resource officer with the other two ready if needed.
For the training to be held, at least 10 law enforcement agencies must participate. Five have already committed, Burke said on Tuesday. The officers will nevertheless be trained before January either here or someplace else, though that would be more expensive, he said.
It’s hard to gauge whether the resource officer has made a big positive difference in the schools, Burke said.
Nevertheless, he added, “I think the schools are safer with a school resource officer. I wish other communities in the county had a school resource officer.”