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School resource officer in place at North Platte
by Jalana Robinson
Landmark reporter

The Platte County Sheriff's Department is sending one of its own back to school.

Deputy Tom Taulbee is the selected officer who will be attending North Platte R-1 School District along with about 700 students this year.

"We're working with the school to conduct a study to determine if a school resource officer would be beneficial to the school," said Shelle Browning, Platte County Sheriff's Department spokesperson.

To understand how a school resource officer could benefit North Platte, Taulbee will keep an office in the high school and will work flexible hours as needed throughout the school district serving various roles.

After the 2001-2002 school year, the sheriff's department will receive feedback from the school and review the outcomes to decide whether to continue the program permanently.

"We're just getting started with that program," said Roger Giger, North Platte Junior High principal.

The program is already in place at the Park Hill School District where an officer is on hand to provide awareness programs, help prevent dangerous situations and to provide educational materials.

Park Hill's school resource officer is partially funded by a Local Law Enforcement Block Grant of $15,002 from the Missouri Public Safety Department that is matched by Park Hill and Platte County for a combined total of $45,007 to fund the program.

"I spent part of the time last semester at Park Hill," said Taulbee. "To get the feel of it and fill in when needed."

Taulbee also received formal training as a school resource officer and has taken part in the National Association of School Resource Officer's conference.

The sheriff's department hopes to establish a partnership between its department and the school by providing a safe and positive school environment with a school resource officer.

"I know a lot of things that I can offer them," said Taulbee.

He explained that not only will he interact with students, but he will guest speak to government classrooms and be on hand to answer questions that students might have about the law.

Taulbee said that students sometimes ask what to do after receiving a speeding ticket. Not only will he be available to advise, but he will also be there to take reports, if needed.

The sheriff's department considers this a time when the school can have a positive law enforcement role mode.

"I think this will be a really interesting job," said Taulbee. "I hope that I'm an asset to the school and the community."

He also said that he views this position as a non-teaching part-time position within the school.

If the program goes well and both the school and the sheriff's department are interested in pursuing a school resource officer, then a grant will be sought to help fund a permanent officer at the school district.