Police presence in Michiana schools

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NAPPANEE, Ind -- Violence has been a concern for school throughout Elkhart County as more students are being arrested for altercations.

Having students involved in physical altercations is nothing new.

However, schools like Northwood High School believe there are other ways to resolve this issue, such as having a school resource officer in the schools.

"I think you do see the reports of school violence that are there but those are things that have been there for years," said Northwood Middle School Resource Officer Skyler Garner.

Leaders in the community believe having an officer in the school at all times is a way to create relationships between officers and the children.

"Other places where maybe they don’t have that resource officer in there, the students don’t necessarily have that person that their able to go to if they hear that so and so are going to fight at let’s say two o’clock. A lot of times before something like that would happen, a student will come to myself or the other SRO and let us know kind of what they’ve been hearing," said Garner.

The officer calls it, creating a certain level of trust.

Resource officers also add that along with trust, officers need discipline to handle the altercations between students.

"Having a carefully selected SRO in your school building at all times is the best option to avoid having patrol guys, who a lot of times don’t always have the most patience in dealing with juveniles," said Nappanee High School Resource Officer Kris Hershberger.

Both officers went on to mention that there is a certain training that SRO's go through to equip them with the skills to work with students on a day to day basis.

They also hand out chips to students around the school as an encouragement for those that not only stay out of altercations, but also go above and beyond.

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