Crawford County hires school resource officer

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By Ted Pennekamp

 

With school ready to begin in less than a month, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department and three county school districts have hired a school resource officer.

The school resource officer is a new position within the sheriff’s department who will be working with the Wauzeka-Steuben, Seneca and North Crawford school districts for increased safety, to build a good relationship with students, for law enforcement purposes and for educational purposes, said Sheriff Dale McCullick.

The new officer is Elizabeth Volten, who was a school resource officer at a large school district in South Carolina. Volten is originally from La Crosse, so she is familiar with Southwest Wisconsin.

“I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s an extremely good position to have,” said McCullick, who noted he has been thinking about having a full-time school resource officer for the past several years.

McCullick said Volten will have no set schedule but will be in at least one school district each day throughout the school year. She will be working with students in kindergarten through senior in high school.

“She will be there for enhanced safety and there will also be classroom time,” said McCullick. “She will create a relationship with the students to get them more comfortable with law enforcement and to help them out.”

One of the classroom topics Volten will talk about will involve Internet safety, cellular device safety, sexting, cyber bullying and other such issues commonly occurring among students.

Volten will also be there for anything that might occur during the school day, including any crimes. She will also build a rapport with students so that they will feel comfortable coming forth with any problems they may have.

“Students may also send emails to Volten to tell her privately about any issues or concerns,” said McCullick. “She can also talk to parents and family members if needed. It’s nice for students to have a familiar and friendly face in the school. She will be someone they can feel comfortable with and not be afraid of.”

“She will be there for the kids,” McCullick continued. “But, she can put her foot down.”

McCullick said his department continues to apply for federal grants to help fund the position, but initially, each of the three school districts will pay one-fourth of the cost and the county will pay the remaining fourth. When school is not in session, Volten will work throughout the county as a traffic officer, McCullick said. Each school will get an equal share of Volten’s time and effort.

“All three school districts were also involved in the hiring process,” said McCullick, who noted that the school resource officer position will be a learning and teaching experience for everybody.

McCullick said there were some extremely well-qualified candidates from within the sheriff’s department who applied for the position, but Volten was selected because of her experience as a certified school resource officer in a large school district.

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