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The School Resource Officer
Without argument, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School is the busiest place in either town. Everyday well over one thousand people gather in what amounts to a small, self contained city. D-Y High School is a community unto itself. Its citizenry comes to work everyday on it’s own public transportation system. D-Y contains what equates to its own health clubs, entertainment venue, sports stadium, restaurant, office spaces, bank, health clinic, and why not, its own police station. Considering the composition of its population it makes sense for this community-in-a-community to be so equipped.
Many people unfortunately jump to the conclusion that having police officers assigned to a school means that the campus has become overrun by crime. This is the short-sighted view of the uninformed. True enough, high school is not what it used to be but in the words of Billy Joel, “The good old days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.” People who are moving through their teen years in today’s world are definitely exposed to experiences and circumstances that in many cases their parents did not face until adulthood if at all. It only stands to reason that a responsible support system would access a variety of resources in defense of and on behalf of it’s children, including the police.
If we view adolescence as a road then it is appropriate to think of the school resource officer as a traffic cop. As the young people of today travel the road of their personal development, turning left, turning right, trying to find their way, many will encounter potholes and speed bumps particularly through the high school years. They will be faced with decisions on what lane to travel in, what on or off ramps to take, when to pass, when to put on the breaks and without question they will come to many crossroads, often without a map. In those circumstances it’s a good thing to have someone, with their best interests at heart coupled with specialized training and experience, who can call them by their first name to give them directions. Now it’s true, sometimes the traffic cop writes a ticket. Consequences are a part of every decision, good or bad, and while we hope the directions we give will always bring them home safely, it is important to pull them over as early as possible if they start down the wrong road, lest they continue on and drive off an allegorical cliff. Of course, prevention and intervention is always the preferred course and there is nothing quite like waving to the young, happy, and healthy motorist as they drive by on the road to success. With this metaphor in park, the more formal description of the school resource officer follows.
The Yarmouth Police and Dennis Police Departments have reached out to offer specialized knowledge to help our young people make good decisions in the face of the difficulties that they will encounter in today's world. The School Resource Officer Program has been in successful operation at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School since 1987.
The School Resource Officer is there for many reasons, most important of which is to be a resource to the students. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and familiarize yourself with the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District Police Services Detachment, or D-Y P.D. for short. This unit was established by the Yarmouth Police in 1987 with a single officer assigned to work a part-time schedule at D-Y High School. Today the unit stands as an example of the very best form of inter-municipal cooperation. D-Y P.D. is a joint unit of Yarmouth Police and Dennis Police officers serving fulltime as School Resource Officers (SRO) at the high school and middle school. D-Y P.D. SROs also provide services on an as-needed basis to the district’s intermediate and elementary schools.
The SROs of D-Y P.D. work jointly and in partnership with educators to provide a full spectrum of police services to the school community both on and off campus, to students, teachers and parents. The unit has three primary areas of concentration.
Most kids won’t go to the police station to report an incident but they will seek out their SRO.
• Criminal Investigation
• Traffic Enforcement
• Crime Prevention
• Emergency Management Planning and Training
You can find D-Y P.D. SROs in classrooms presenting on topics such as:
• Constitutional Law and Search & Seizure
• Structure and Operation of the Criminal Justice System
• Effects of drugs on the body and legal and school consequences
• Domestic / Dating Violence and Sexual Assault
• How to maximize internship experiences and careers in law enforcement
• The ever-popular “Stump-the-Cop” Q&A
• Assist students with individual research projects and career counseling
• Provide teachers with instructional material and other types of support
The SRO is one more resource available to students, faculty, staff and parents to help solve complicated problems at school or elsewhere. SROs are not certified counselors but as experienced police officers they have spent much of their professional lives working with people in crisis, often when no other resource is available. The SRO is available to use their specialized training and knowledge to support school social workers and guidance counselors or to meet privately with students to assist with all types of issues.
Prevention & Intervention
When not concentrating on the big three areas we are almost constantly engaged in various forms of prevention & intervention.
• Stopping the bad stuff before it starts whenever possible
We look forward to continued success. Combining the resources of our school system and our police department will provide a safer learning environment and a broader educational experience.
Some of the other services provided:
· Serving as a role model to students.
· Deterring misconduct through prevention and intervention.
· Assisting the school administration when others commit acts of violence or other crimes.
· Serving as liaison between the police department and the school.
· Assisting staff with classroom activities involving instruction on various criminal justice issues.
· Providing primary source information to students working on individual projects.
· Assisting with security of the school and it’s grounds.
· Sustaining the reality that our school is a safe learning environment.
· Providing teacher and staff training.
· Acting as a resource to parents.
· Alcohol and other drug resistance education and prevention.
· Providing career counseling to students interested in the law enforcement field.