Jeffco sheriff assigns four more deputies to schools

Sheriff’s department is one of seven law enforcement agencies providing SROs to Jeffco schools

Posted 8/7/18

Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader is allocating four additional deputies to serve as school resource officers (SROs) for Jefferson County Public Schools in …

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Jeffco sheriff assigns four more deputies to schools

Sheriff’s department is one of seven law enforcement agencies providing SROs to Jeffco schools

Posted

Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader is allocating four additional deputies to serve as school resource officers (SROs) for Jefferson County Public Schools in unincorporated areas of the county.

Traditionally, 10 deputies have served as SROs rotating between high schools and middle schools. The four new school resource officers will be assigned to Ken Caryl, Manning, Falcon Bluffs and Summit Ridge middle schools.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is one of seven law enforcement agencies in the county that assign school resource officers. Westminster, Arvada, Golden, Wheat Ridge, Edgewater and Lakewood police departments also allocate school resource officers. Together, they staff 39 officers at all high schools and many middle schools within the district. This is a service law enforcement offers to the school district for free.

“We are incredibly lucky to have strong partnerships with our local law enforcement agencies,” said Jeffco schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Glass, adding that the increase comes at a time when much attention and concern is focused on school safety.

“I think that with the Parkland shooting and the Texas shooting this past year, it still weighs heavily on everyone,” said Glass, referring to the high school shootings in Florida and Santa Fe, Texas, respectively. “And with Jeffco’s history of school violence, there is a heightened awareness.”

Shrader said the decision is about safety and trust.

“School resource officers enhance security in our schools,” Shrader said. “The deputies’ presence and the trust they build with students helps deter juvenile criminal activities, both in school and out. Adding four SROs will better serve our students, their parents and our community as a whole.”

Relationship-building key to program

Jeena Templeton, principal at Manning Option School near Golden, is excited about having a full-time SRO at her school, which serves 675 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students with a college-prep-focused curriculum.

“The most important part is the added safety and security,” she said. “That visibility is a critical piece of making kids and families feel safe here.”

Prior to this year, the school shared an SRO with another school, and the officer was on campus just once a week.

“Unfortunately,” Templeton said, “incidents don’t happen on that kind of schedule.”

In addition to safety, Templeton said having an officer on campus helps students build healthy relationships with law enforcement.

“It lets kids know that police officers aren’t scary,” she said. “They become part of the community and their lives. Students view the officers as people who are safe and they can lean on. I think that’s a very important thing that happens when an SRO is in the building full-time.”

That is something John McDonald, executive director of security and emergency management for Jeffco Public Schools, echoes.

“For many kids, the SRO is the first positive relationship built with law enforcement,” McDonald said. “It’s also an opportunity for them to help educate kids in some areas they are struggling in — drugs, alcohol, sexting, helping kids understand what dating violence is, what boundaries are…”

But McDonald said the most important part is the relationship between the schools and law enforcement. The work of the school’s security department and the law enforcement agencies do together defines success in school safety.

“The sheriff and the police chiefs are absolutely committed to school safety, which is so important,” McDonald said. “I cherish the relationship we’ve developed.”

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