Bentonville School District To Add School Resource Officer To Help With Junior High Security

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- The Bentonville School District will soon be adding another school resource officer to help with security at the junior high schools.

The district has five full-time school resource officers to cover both high schools and three junior highs.

The new officer will be stationed at one of the junior highs, giving each school their own school resource officer.

Director of Security Steve Vera said adding another resource officer has been in the plan for some time.

"We just had to wait for the numbers, the growth and finally we were able to go before the board and get that approved to be able to fill that position," Vera said.

Officer Adam Holland is not a full-time school resource officer, but helps out and has years of experience as one in the River Valley. He said having someone at a school full time helps build a trust with the community that has benefits of its own.

“From students being more willing and accepting to your presence, to parents, to that interaction on a positive scale instead of only having interaction with law enforcement maybe when something bad has occurred," Holland said.

Holland said building that trust isn't easy. He said it requires a time investment that is made much easier when a school resource officer takes care of one school.

“It’s the first thing that kids are going to notice. You’re here and you’re here more than just when something goes wrong. You’re here to have a good time, you’re here to joke and carry on. So it’s a pretty quick process when you are able to do a focused investment of time into that school or into that campus with who is there," he said.

Vera said everything is ready to go with the new officer, but he won't start until the new school year.

"We’re going to look at selecting one possibly early enough that during the summer. He can get some training and be ready to go the first week of school," he said.

Holland said on top of their full-time officers, other people from the department help out. He said other officers will drop by the school to check in or just have a bite to eat with the students.