Wyoming leaders may beef up school security - KOTA Territory News

Wyoming leaders may beef up school security

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State officials are taking a close look at the security of students and may explore bringing more officers into the hallways.

"One of the tasks that we have is to establish relationships with the students," said School Resource Officer Dan White, who primarily focuses on Sheridan High School.

White is one of two school resource officers in Sheridan and one of 35 in the entire state.  His job is to provide security to the high school and help out students.

"Anything from asking a student how their day's going to assisting them with a traffic crash that they've had in the parking lot," said White.

But that help costs the district money.

"We continue to hope that the legislators will eventually fund the SRO's.  We're funding one of those and our city is paying for the other one," said assistant superintendent Terry Burgess.

Governor Matt Mead has installed a task force to look into just that.

But funding more resource officers could come with too great a cost.

"This has been talked about by some legislators.  'We should have a school safety officer in every building.'  You know, [that's] $30 to 35 million alone per year," said State Rep. Michael Madden (R-Buffalo).

Madden and the Legislature almost passed a $2 million bill this year that would have brought in more SRO's, but he says more research was needed.

"$2 million wasn't going to solve it," said Madden.

Madden says this task force could also recommend improving the designs of some school buildings, but that would also bring a hefty price tag.

For now the task force is just asking for each district to provide some information on its crisis policy and SRO use.

"My guess is they're going to study the procedures and policies that all districts are using right now," said Burgess.

If this leads to more SRO's, more policemen will come into schools who can wear many hats.

"We're teachers, we're law enforcement officers, and sometimes we act as a counselor," said White.

The task force is made up of behavioral health specialists, law enforcement officers, educators, lawmakers, and Wyoming Department of Homeland Security officials.

The task force will submit its report by October.

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