Herald Lusk | School Resource Officer: Bridging the Gap Between Law Enforcement and Education
LUSK – Two and a half years ago, Agent Tyler Stream moved his family to Lusk for a newly created and somewhat controversial position in the community. He was hired to be the Lusk Police Department and School Resource Officer for the Niobrara County School District, a position he had held in other districts, but in larger communities.
Stream has now been working with students, teachers, law enforcement and community residents for nearly 36 months and while his days are never the same, his mission does not change. He wants to be a proactive force for diversion, safety and education as it relates to the youth of Lusk.
Stream focuses on a team approach to achieving these goals. He works to keep children “out of the system” and then, when unavoidable, is part of the team that creates, under state law, a single point of entry to ensure that these young people or have worked through all possible alternatives to the most difficult results of bad decision making.
When Chief Bo Kerin first approached the school and the city to create the position, he estimated that his officers spent thirty to thirty-five percent of their time in the buildings of the school. Then they were called to the building a situation had often already escalated to the point where law enforcement and subsequently the justice system had to be involved. the goal of the School Resource Officer or SRO position was to create early intervention, education, and diversion programs to prevent this. The person in this person also works to build relationships with students and their families to truly be a positive resource, not just another person pulling them down.
Stream also plays a key role in environmental security assessment and completion of ALICE Active shooter training and crisis response training within the school district. Stream has been slowly making changes to parking lots, drop off points, entrances and security systems to ensure students are safe and in a safe environment from the minute they are dropped off at school until the minute they get home. This has included changes to on-campus traffic and parking passes so that all vehicles on school grounds that are not in the visitor parking lot can be immediately identified. The Navigate 360 app and program have also been implemented. This allows near instantaneous information to flow during a crisis to account for students and staff and to communicate discreetly and direct staff cell phones. It was activated for all exercises and for cases of missing students reported when all other resources were exhausted.
On the front line in situations involving underage vaping, tobacco, alcohol and other substance issues, Stream attempts to create an internal response to an internal problem that allows students to begin making better choices without involve the justice system. He is currently in the process of transitioning the diversion program to a fully online program, notforme.org, which allows students to complete it on their own within a set time frame. This allows students to stay in school and in class while fulfilling certain obligations.
Other programs that have been implemented are Rocket Rules, which is safety for K-3 and includes household and neighborhood safety and awareness. Foundations for a Drug-Free World is the Grade 7 and 8 program. He now works with teacher Lacey Wurdeman on substance abuse education through his life courses. This year will be the first year that Stream hopes to take selected students to a leadership camp, Camp Post-Guard in the summer of 2022.
Prime for Life is a large mental health program for teens that Stream hopes to be a part of in the future, but this program requires more time and resources than the community currently has. They also plan to start a community service program as part of the diversion process.
The ultimate goal is to prevent children from entering a system and getting lost or engaging in risky behaviors that ultimately harm their physical and mental health. Even with many years of experience and a supportive administration, the process is slow and Stream is only one person. He can’t be everywhere at once and although his main role is with the schools he still works for the police department and when the schools are closed for breaks he can be found helping with investigations and to paperwork. Since he doesn’t have a patrol schedule when possible, Stream is called in to help with the most intense investigations or those that require more manpower. While community members shouldn’t expect to see Stream directing traffic in a parade or stopping high-speed cars, they can rest assured that he’s always busy. He is rarely found in his office in high school as he tries to do extensive tours and walk around both campuses. He is at Lance Creek School weekly and is also responsible for following up on wellness checks or truancy checks with students.
While no one can guess the future, Stream hopes he can put systems in place for the district and community that come to rely on the position of SRO, whether it’s him or another officer occupying that position. job. It’s all about process and relationships, heavy with those relationships. To help students trust the position and know that it is someone they can go to first, instead of last and to help the community know that the SRO and other law enforcement are ultimately there to be resources, not just the guys you see when the law is broken.