The cops on the campuses

The Minot Public School District’s two new school resource officers both said they have a love of working with young people.

Caisee Sandusky, who is the new resource officer at Minot High School-Central Campus, has been a police officer with the Minot Police Department for six years, but before that she was a substitute teacher. Shannon Lackey, the new resource officer at Minot High School-Magic City Campus, has been with the Minot Police Department for 13 years but had also worked with youth at the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.

Minot is the last large school district in the state to put school resource officers in its high schools, according to Sandusky and Lackey, who began work in their new positions at the start of January. The women will work in the schools during the school year and return to work at the Minot Police Department during the summer months.

Last week, Lackey was decorating her office, installing knickknacks on her desk and putting up a bulletin board, which was a little harder than it might look. So far both she and Sandusky have gotten a lot of positive reactions from people at the school, along with some curious comments.

When kids have asked why they are there, Lackey said she responds that the resource officers are there because their community cares about them.

Lackey and Sandusky said they will have an open-door policy and want to encourage both kids and adults to stop in their offices and talk about any concerns they have. They will be involved in police investigations at the school, whether they involve accidents in the parking lot or incidents involving drugs and alcohol or suspected child abuse involving students at the school.

But they said they also want the kids to get to know them as more than enforcers of the law. They will attend proms and dances and speak to classes when appropriate about laws that affect teens and how teens can stay safe.

Both Sandusky and Lackey will respond to any incidents at the middle schools or at Souris River Campus as well.

They want kids to feel comfortable contacting them if something happens. Kids and adults will be able to text them through their “text to tip program” about incidents as well as stopping by their offices and talking with them face to face.

Sandusky said she thinks improved security is also one of the most important things about having armed school resource officers. Sandusky said it is their job to keep kids safe.