WILLISTON, N.D. - The student population continues to grow for Williston Public School District. The Williston Police Department is looking to keep track as well. This school year, two student resource officers are patrolling the district’s campuses.
For Officer James Dixon, it’s a familiar environment.
“It’s just a good feeling being back where I graduated," says Dixon.
The Williston High graduate is one of the two student resources officers who will be roaming the district school campuses. Dixon’s primary focus will be the high school.
“We are not here to throw the book at them or anything like that. We are here to counsel,” says Dixon.
Last year, the Williston Police Department only had one SRO. Officer Heather Cook is the second and is also a Williston native. She will work with the middle and elementary school students.
“Just being in the schools and working with kids, that is all I ever wanted to do with law enforcement,” says Cook.
Last year’s SRO, Danielle Hendricks, worked on more than 150 cases involving drugs, harassment, child abuse and sexual assault. The new SRO’s will look to continue her work and educate the students.
Both of them have been with the department for about two years. And they say their main focus is building those relationships and guiding students in the right direction.
“If you can influence a child when they are young that drugs and alcohol are bad, it might stop us from seeing them in the system after they turn 18,” says Cook.
School officials put the SRO’s to good use as well.
“The teachers use the SRO officer a lot. Come in and talk to my law class or come talk about psychology. Some of my psychology had them come in,” says Williston High School Principal, Jason Germundson.
In a way, they are just like any other student, trying to make new friends.
Officer Cook is expecting her second child soon and won’t start her new duty until late October or early November.