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Valley Journals

Students, Officers to Benefit from Training Program

Aug 30, 2016 03:07PM ● By Travis Barton

Don Shomette of the Shomette Group speaks with school resource officers at Granger High School on Aug. 3. Officers were trained by Shomette to become mentors as much as enforcers within schools. –Travis Barton

A school resource officer is the first line of law enforcement inside a school. Maybe those officers can be even more.
 
Granite School District’s Police Department held a special training from Aug. 2 to 5 at Granger High School to teach officers how to best serve their school community and decrease stress levels. The training was taught by crime prevention specialist Don Shomette of the Shomette Group.
 
“We need to have the highest standards when we enter those doors, just like everyone should,” Shomette said.
 
The week-long training module aimed to ensure all officers understand their role in schools.
 
Shomette’s training included classroom management, preventing a crisis, mentoring students, school and police partnerships and other subjects pertaining to law enforcement in schools.
 
Almost 50 school resource officers from Morgan and Cache counties attended the training as well as the cities of Magna, Draper, Murray, Holladay, Riverton and West Valley. Granite School District said the goal is for each officer to serve more as a school administrator and less like a police officer walking a beat.
 
Doug Larson, Granite’s director of policy and legal services, said they want resource officers to work and gain the trust of students while also maintaining security.
 
Shomette said he loves the “resource” part of the title.
 
“Think of yourself as a resource in all ways. Then I think it’s going to open up more possibilities and give you more opportunities that you couldn’t otherwise pigeonhole your way into,” Shomette told the dozens of officers in attendance.
 
Shomette stressed the need for resource officers and school officials to work together.
 
“We work for nothing but the benefit of the people, they work for nothing but the benefit of their students,” Shomette, a former Marine, said.
 
Shomette said he’s sometimes baffled when officers don’t get along with people in public schools.
 
“Public schools are full people who are heroic, who sacrifice every day for the benefit of others,” Shomette said. “There are many men and women in the public schools who do exactly what police officers do. If there is two organizations that should be together, it should be us and the public schools.”
 
Shomette has taught this training around the country in places such as Washington, D.C. and Birmingham, Ala. and is the father of eight kids. He said there is true value in connecting with kids.
 
“The better [the connection] is, the deeper it is, the greater the chance the person is going to listen to you,” Shomette said.
 
Larson said resource officers are a vital part of schools and with this new training they will hopefully be able to prevent problems before they arise.