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Resource Officer Present In Bozeman Schools

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BOZEMAN -

After the Newtown, CO shooting, the Bozeman School District decided to eliminate the D.A.R.E. program and instead place two school resource officers in the middle and elementary schools.

Hal Richardson is one of the two new school resource officers for the Bozeman School District.

"I'll be in each of the classrooms within the school year," said Richardson.

Richardson has an office at Sacajawea Middle School and is responsible for educating and interacting with the elementary school students.
 
"The fifth graders will get a co-teaching aspect from me. The second, third and fourth graders will learn about what a police officer does," said Richardson. "If children are suspects or victims in crime, I'll handle that stuff in the schools that I'm assigned to."

He said the main difference between D.A.R.E. and the new school resource officer is the opportunity to change up the classes he teaches throughout the year instead of following a curriculum.

"The flexibility between the school district and the Police Department is something new," said Richardson. "I want to be able to get the safety message out to students instead of being restricted by the D.A.R.E. curriculum."

The principal at Sacajawea Middle School, Gordon Grissom said having the school resource officer present in the school is building a stronger relationship between law enforcement and the students.

"I think it's really helpful having the resource officer in the school and being present for the kids to see," said Grissom. "It also provides a partnership between the schools and law enforcement."

"I'm trying to hit all the elementary schools that I'm assigned to every week," said Richardson.

Richardson said he hopes everyone feels safe coming to school.

"It gives me a sense of security, but I think it also gives the students and parents a lot more," said Richardson.

Another SRO is expected to be stationed at Chief Joseph Middle School in January. Two SOR's still remain at Bozeman High.

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