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February 20, 2007
Lassen High School in fourth year of using SRO program
SUSANVILLE, California (STPNS) -- Lassen High School has participated in the School Resource Officer program for the past four years. Through the SRO program, a police officer is on campus a lot of the time unless called away. According to LHS Superintendent Dan Lewis the program is effective.
An SRO program was used at the school district Lewis used to work at and he helped bring the SRO program to Lassen County with grants offered by the Department of Justice and the Office of Criminal Justice and planning along with school safety grants. City police officer and SRO Ryan Cochran has been assigned to the high school for the last two years.
Lewis said the SRO program allows students to build a relationship with one person and the SRO also helps with truancy problems.
He said if there is a problem on campus, the SRO is right there and the school doesn?t have to call an officer who is patrolling the streets.
The underlying goal is to make the campus safer and provide a safe and orderly learning environment, Lewis said.
Dave Salas, head of campus security, said having an officer on campus is a good deterrent.
Cochran also goes to Credence High School, Spring Ridge Community Day School and goes to schools in Susanville, who may call for juvenile problems.
However, he said he spends most of his time at LHS.
Salas said Cochran is there to help assist with school fights, assaults, students smoking cigarettes and with those who may have weapons.
Students will also alert them of what other students are doing, especially after Stephen Draxler and Alan Hoffman died in September, Cochran said.
He can issue citations, send students to the probation officer if they have commited a misdemeanor and take them to juvenile hall if they commit a felony. He can also search backpacks looking for alcohol, weapons, drugs and tobacco.
In addition, he and Salas have gone to students? homes to find out why they aren?t in school and bring them in.
Being an SRO, Cochran said he occasionally goes out of city limits to get students, but most of the students he deals with live in town.
In addition, Salas and Cochran patrol different areas including the parks and the skate park for students who aren?t in school or who might be smoking.
But Cochran also said he tries to make himself approachable to the students, get to know them and be a mentor to them.
Both Cochran and Salas said the students don?t just talk with them about law-enforcement issues, but confide issues about life; what?s going on at home, problems with other students and relationship issues.
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