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LETTER: Providing positive police interactions

To the Editor: While campaigning last season, I came across a few issues that are still very much applicable today. One of those issues that was mentioned was the lack of School Resource Officers that we have, and the lack of positive interaction...

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To the Editor:

While campaigning last season, I came across a few issues that are still very much applicable today. One of those issues that was mentioned was the lack of School Resource Officers that we have, and the lack of positive interaction with kids that police have overall. With everything happening in today's world, one can never be too safe either.

A new program is underway at L.B. Williams that brings in more role models for kids from the community, particularly males as there is only one male teacher there. This is the perfect opportunity for the police to have positive interactions with kids and be a solid role model in a child's life.

Recently, the city council turned down the opportunity to provide the Department of Public Safety funding for more officers. We currently have one School Resource Officer to cover approximately 2,750 students in Mitchell School District (not including colleges, John Paul II or Mitchell Christian). Brookings has about 3,250 students with two SROs (not including UPD at SDSU), Aberdeen 3,700 with three SROs (one at NSU). These are just a few examples, and note that one of them has an officer to cover colleges too.

Why not appropriate the funding for one or two new officers and specify that they are to be School Resource Officers (who can be normal patrol in the offseason, or pickup other shifts too)? Also, why not foster a relationship between the police division and the local colleges as well by having a liaison to their respective campuses? (This could also be done by other agencies in the area - i.e. Highway Patrol and sheriff's office.)

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An addition of another School Resource Officer or two would be a great improvement to cover our seven schools and two colleges. It would also put some of the students more at ease in the schools and on college campuses. I would highly suggest that the City Council consider this in the future. School/campus safety is not an issue we should be putting off.

Clay Loneman

Mitchell

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