‘Assigned to a community’: Resource officer describes role protecting schools
CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Dustin Woolson oversees the 1300 students at Robious Middle School and in his eight years as a school resource officer said his job is to make students feel safe and comfortable every day.
"We aren't just an officer assigned to a school," Woolson said. "We are an officer assigned to a community. If kids don't feel safe then they aren't going to have that successful learning environment so we help to create that."
Thanks to a partnership between Chesterfield Police and the school system an officer is assigned to every middle and high school in the county.
"Many of the officers live in the community. They went through the schools. So they have unique perspective about it," Chesterfield Schools spokesman Shawn Smith said.
Smith also said the county is considering adding resource officers to elementary schools.
"We get to roll the clock back and get to make that investment in today's youth," Woolson said. "Hopefully five to 15 years from now we won't have some of the same issues that we are seeing today."
With the increase in school shootings and threats last year, Woolson says the time to beef up relationships is now.
"Open up lines of communication and continue those lines with administration and schools. That's how those threats get funneled to us." Woolson said.
From making sure they know where to go or just a simple hello, he says this simple dialogue goes a long way. Woolson said the biggest lesson he has learned from the students is patience.
"Those basic human things, by being that person I'm not just a badge and a uniform," Woolson said. "I'm a person trying to help them. That's what I present to them."
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