PRINEVILLE, OR -- A second School Resource Officer (SRO) is coming to Crook County schools. Prineville Police Chief Dale Cummins says the community requested the additional officer, to better protect students, "We negotiated with the school district and found a way to get it into both of our budgets to help pay for the officer. It allowed me July first, to start looking for an officer to hire." He tells KBND News he's first hiring three new patrol officers for the department, "Once they get trained up and they're able to be released out on patrol, then I will open up the School Resource Officer to all my senior officers."
Chief Cummins says the expense of doubling SRO staffing is worthwhile if just one school attack is prevented, "If we can build some avenues of trust, then we have a better chance of getting a student who sees something that he doesn't think is right, to say something. If we can even accomplish that, that's the big win." He adds, "With officers in the schools, it gives our kids an opportunity to meet officers, to talk to officers in a non-police way, and it allows them to engage with the students and the students to engage them; it helps them knock down some of these perceptions they can get by watching television."
While there has not been a mass-casualty incident in the community, Cummins says there was an "unspecified threat" at Crook County High School last April, "When they come up now, more often, it just solidifies our perception of the safety of the schools and even if Crook County is a relatively small county, there's still those concerns." Cummins hopes to have a new SRO in place within the year.