School Resource Officer
Beginning in January 2015, the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office dedicated a deputy position to the assignment of School Resource Officer (SRO) at St. Clair School. Crime and violence in the schools continues to be a concern to parents, students, educators, and the general public, and we are not immune in our area. The SRO program has been an opportunity for the Sheriff’s Office to build relationships with our youth, and the community of St. Clair as a whole.
Deputy Tom Coulter is assigned to this position, which started as a part-time position, evolving into full-time. Deputy Coulter has experience working with young people and serving as a mentor. He has often had the opportunity to be a guest speaker in many classes and has met with students on an informal basis. The role of a SRO can range from one school to the next. Obviously as a small, rural school district, the duties and responsibilities of the position is much different from those of a larger, urban or inner city school district. At St. Clair patrol activities are much less of a priority than conducting prevention and intervention activities for the purpose of keeping the building secure and the students safe, both inside and out of school.
Deputy Coulter works side-by-side with the school administration team, responding to behavioral issues, at-risk students, and continually reviewing and revising the crisis prevention and response plans. He helps monitor the flow of traffic around the school building at busy times of the day, which brings a measure of added safety to motorists, passengers and pedestrians.
Deputy County has been instrumental in bolstering efforts to keep the students alcohol and drug free. The D.A.R.E. program was brought back to St. Clair School, in both 5th and 8th grades. The goal of adding the DARE program is to build healthy relationships and provide useful prevention strategies for students, parents and educators. The powerful bonds translate into positive decisions making skills which in turn provide a safer school and community.
Finally the SRO position coordinates the school safety committee comprised of members of all Blue Earth County Schools. The goal of this committee is to ensure the crisis and prevention plans are in place at each school in Blue Earth County, with the exception of Mankato ISD 77. We conduct annual training for law enforcement officers throughout the county as well as communities surrounding Blue Earth County.