The Carson City Sheriff’s Office reported last week at the joint meeting of the Board of Supervisors and the Carson City School District that operations of the school resource officer program continue with success with plans to adapt the program for student education on drug use and prevention this year.
The program, which provides education, prevention and enforcement through daily contact to youth and administrators in the schools, was awarded funding though the Community Oriented Policing Services COPS in Schools grant and divided between the sheriff’s office and the school district in 2015 and extended to 2018. The amount supported three officers. The Nevada Legislature took steps to ensure school safety in policy and increased funding and support for the SRO program with the passage of Senate Bills 89, 528, 551 and 555.
The Carson City School District received additional grant funding in the amount of $626,160 to help pay for an additional deputy and sergeant for two years, which the Board of Supervisors approved in October 2019. By April 2020, the board and the school board reached an agreement to continue the program and split the cost of the initial three officers funded in 2015 to last through June 30, 2025.
In September 2020, the Board of Supervisors voted to reclassify its Prevention Program Coordinator position to a deputy sheriff position, which added another SRO.
Sheriff Ken Furlong, presenting to the Board of Supervisors and the district’s Board of Trustees in the past, has cited juvenile referrals the CCSO has taken in at schools, participation in the district’s Holiday with a Hero event, support or interventions the SROs have provided in different capacities or incidents and general positive outcomes that have resulted as a result of the officers’ presence on campus or in a student’s or family’s home.
Furlong thanked Stokes on Thursday for his dedication and cooperation.
“We’re not always successful,” Furlong said. “Across the country, we see tragedies, but because of Mr. Stokes and that relationship with CCSO, we have the tools and means and the policies and practices and the enthusiasm of the schools to be able to put our best foot forward to keep our children safe.”
Sgt. Matt Smith, SRO supervising officer, on Thursday said he would like to continue tailoring the program and its tools to specific needs this year to educate students further about vaping, drug use, cyberbullying and to help the officers “build bridges” through positive interactions.
“(We want to) provide tools they need now to make better choices tomorrow,” Smith said.