For Immediate Release
Posted: August 22, 2019

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School resource officers share strategies as new school year approaches

WMUR News Ray Brewer

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Concord, NH- As students across New Hampshire head back to school, the people charged with keeping them safe are looking for better ways to do their job.

School resource officers from across the state were attending a safety conference Thursday in Concord. Last year, the state issued $30 million in grants for schools to improve security in the buildings.

"They're allowing the school to control the flow of individuals in and out of the building so they know who is there and where they are," Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said.

The commissioner said equally important is making sure the SROs and staff establish relationships with the students.

"By seeing those students that are struggling and reaching out and showing that you care, that can go a long way towards helping that student not come to a point of crisis," he said.

Getting students to overcome their reluctance to approach a school resource officer or a teacher is one of the biggest challenges, according to Detective James Deluca, who has been an SRO for five years.

"We just try to tell them we're not going to overreact to the situation," Deluca said. "We'll take every situation. We'll look at that situation. We'll evaluate that situation."

Several programs are being used in schools to help cultivate those relationships. Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said he has been impressed with one program in particular.

"The Choose Love Program fills that void as it looks to cultivate safety from within an individual, talking about courage, gratitude, compassion and forgiveness, and it's really a great program," Dennis said.

Officials said they want to remind parents that they also have a role in keeping schools safe and that it's important to remain engaged with their children.