Amarillo School Resource Officers prepare to engage with community this summer

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - A break from school won’t necessarily mean a break in the connection between students and School Liaison Officers this summer.

Every summer, when the school year ends and students get a break from class, School Resource Officers (SRO) go back to patrol duty, but this year, these officers will be joining the Neighborhood Policing Program (NPO).

“Is still a patrol function, but is more focused on some of our neighborhoods where we have challenges we’re trying to work with,” said Chief Martin Birkenfeld at Amarillo Police Department.

Much like being in the neighborhoods allows NPOs to become familiar with community members in their areas, being in the schools allows resource officers to make connections with students every day.

“Our officers are already familiar with kids and schools, and so they are going to be out in the community and some will be seeing some of the same kids that they have develop relationships with. So the kids know the officers, the officers know the kids, there’s a level of trust already,” said Chief Birkenfeld.

During the pandemic lockdown, SROs fell behind in establishing connections with the kids and by doing community policing throughout the summer, the hope is to help make up for that.

“We’re going to try to work on rebuilding those relationships, we want our school kids to be safe, but we also want the kids to feel comfortable talking to police officers,” said Chief Birkenfeld. “Tell us what’s going on in your community, what are you concerned about? So that we can offer a helping hand.”

The SROs are currently working at the Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, and will start neighborhood policing in two or three weeks.

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