he Platte County Commission approved a contract to designate a school resource officer to protect and serve the students and staff at Walden Middle School.
Walden is the newest middle school in the Park Hill School District, having opened just a few weeks ago. Walden Middle School is located at 4701 NW 56th St., Kansas City in Platte County.
According to the memorandum of understanding between the county and the school district, the school resource officer (SRO) is a trained officer with the Platte County Sheriff’s Office partnering with the district to promote safer schools and safer children.
School resource officers will perform a full gamut of drug and alcohol prevention and awareness discussions over the course of the year.
Some discussions will also cover internet safety. Generally, though, the school resource officer will serve as the eyes and the ears of the school and assist school officials with safety and security matters.
Deploying a school resource officer inside middle schools is nothing new to the Park Hill School District. Congress, Lakeview and Plaza middle schools all have school resource officers.
Additionally, Matt Westrich with the Riverside Police Department serves as the school resource officer at the Park Hill South High School.
In addition to agreements with Park Hill, the sheriff’s office also has contracts in place to provide an SRO at West Platte High School and at North Platte High School.
“Besides taking care of some of the issues that come up during school,” Ron Schieber, presiding county commissioner says, “I find great comfort that kids are being exposed on a day-to-day basis to folks in law enforcement and have a trusting relationship with them.”
During the normal school year, the school resource officer will serve on a full-time basis. When school lets out for summer break, the school resource officer will be transferred to patrol duty for the sheriff’s office.
The school resource officer will possess a patrol vehicle, paid for equally by the school district and the sheriff’s office.
Major Erik Holland with the Platte County Sheriff’s Office said having a school resource officer in place at schools can help “relieve the burden on sheriff’s department patrol unit during school year, because if there are assaults, or drug issues or weapons issues at schools the school resource officer is already on site.”
As the district opens the new Lead Innovation Center and another structure, Major Holland said Park Hill anticipates adding two additional school resource officers in the coming years.