The mission of the Youth Services Officer is to identify the needs of our youth within a diverse community. To work in partnership with students, parents, teachers, city and state officials in meeting those needs. To preserve the peace, enforce laws, identify and apprehend offenders. To provide emergency services and social service referrals to youth at risk. To offer substance abuse and crime prevention programs targeted toward youth safety within the school system, creating a safe and tranquil environment in which the educational process can take place.
School Resource Officer
The Winooski School District is comprised of one elementary, one middle and one high school located upon a central campus. The total school population is about 800 children.. A K-8 parochial school is also located within city limits.
In April, 1998, thanks to a grant from the Community Partnership program, a full-time Police Officer was assigned to provide youth services to the children of the city with a permanent office location at the Winooski Middle/High School. As of July 1, 1999, the City of Winooski Police Department received funding from the Department of Justice for two full time uniformed officers through the year 2002. Since 2003, the Winooski School District and the City of Winooski have shared the cost of the School Resource Officer and youth services.
Why Are Police Officers In Our Schools?
The School Resource Officer is there to act as a resource for students, teachers and school administrators on all aspects of criminal and civil law. In the past, there were many instances where patrol officers responded to the school for reports of assaults, thefts and disorderly persons. There were also many cases of Children In Need of Services (CHINS) where delays in reporting by school officials made the referrals to appropriate state agencies or the collection of evidence more difficult. By having an officer located in the school buildings full-time, there is a visible resource for all the users of the school system.
The goal of the School Resource Officer is to provide services that will:
Help students develop a positive attitude toward their community and the law through constructive, non-authoritarian contact with the police. Encourage early intervention techniques that can divert delinquent-prone and pre-delinquent youth from the criminal justice system. Encourage youth to develop non-violent conflict resolution skills. Act as an outlet for referrals to social service or other agencies for families in crisis.
Have police resources readily available within the school community.
What We Are Doing
In the community:
Truancy rates have decreased by over 150% since the inception of the SRO program. Documented reports of truancy to the State’s Attorney Office and the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services went from 35 referrals in 1996 to a low of six in 2000. These cases are handled pre-emptively through home visits by the SRO negating the use of the legal system in most cases.
Many cases of criminal violations were handled by the SRO through referrals to the Winooski Community Justice Center. Cases that normally would be channeled to the Vermont Family Court are now referred to a non-adversarial program where the youthful offender can make amends without having a criminal record. There were seven such referrals made from in-school conduct that went to the criminal level. These cases were all handled where the student could get the incident behind them and go on with their studies.
School Resource Officer Contact Information:
To contact The City of Winooski School Resource Officer for more information, comments or suggestions, write or call:
School Resource Officer David Solomon
Winooski Police Department
27 West Allen Street
Winooski, VT 05404
Police Dept.: (802) 655-0221
School: (802) 655-3530