Working With School Resource Officers/Law Enforcement
By Mary Cameron, PS Carbon & Stillwater Counties
As I was thinking ahead to Red Ribbon Week, it occurred to me that I won’t be able to enter most of the schools in Carbon or Stillwater County because of the COVID-19 restrictions in place at each school. I felt I needed to identify a partner in each county that could conduct some in-person presentations at the schools.
The Sheriff’s Office in Stillwater County has joined with the schools in the county to provide a School Resource Officer. I met with Deputy Crain in August to talk about Red Ribbon Week, and the possibility of him presenting the one hour program, Alcohol True Stories (ATS), hosted by Matt Damon. In the video young people tell their powerful stories about drinking and driving, drug addiction, and avoiding alcohol use. Presenting ATS does not require any special training or certification. I told him about Chief Wells, of the Red Lodge Police Department presenting the program, sight unseen, to the sophomore health classes at RLHS. The discussion was lively and the kids were engaged.
I created some flyers for him that described the ATS program, and the Prime for Life Teens program, another evidence based program that can be delivered by a trained and certified instructor via Zoom or in a classroom setting. Officer Crain appeared very enthusiastic about receiving the ATS DVD, a laminated copy of the Discussion Guide, and the flyers.
Working with Deputy Crain of the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office has been instrumental in opening the lines of communication with the schools in Stillwater County. Within minutes of him having delivered the flyers to the Absarokee High School, the principal called and we are making plans to implement the Prime for Life Teens program in the sophomore health classes, and conduct Youth Mental Health First Aid at a spring PIR day.
I emailed the Carbon County law enforcement agencies, and members of the DUI Task Force in Carbon County, attaching a flyer describing the Alcohol True Stories program and asking if it was something that they were interested in presenting in Carbon County Schools. I received immediate responses of “Yes!” from the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, and Bridger Police Department. While neither agency has a designated School Resource Officer, the deputies and officers provide education activities in the schools in their areas. The Carbon and Stillwater Prevention Programs will be providing the Alcohol: True Stories, hosted by Matt Damon DVD and a laminated copy of the discussion guide to each law enforcement agency in Stillwater and Carbon County. I’ve found that the law enforcement agencies are eager to provide prevention education activities. If we provide them with the tools and support needed, we are part of building those relationships with the teachers, students and communities, and we strengthen our prevention programs, coalitions and communities.