OUR VIEW: Resource officer(s) needed

By Observer editorial June 02, 2014 11:40 am

Children are our future. A key element that comes with kids are the tools to help them become independent and engaged citizens. These skills are taught by parents and in the classroom.

Parents, for the most part, do all they can to keep their children safe. It’s no question that our schools should do the same.

That’s why it is encouraging to hear that the La Grande School Board and the Union County Sheriff’s Office have plans to get a resource officer in place. Though it’s unclear how the schools will handle one officer, this is a positive step for the community.

We don’t have a crystal ball to determine when a tragedy may occur. We hope it never happens, but we also know that preparedness can go a long way if an incident did occur.

That said, a school resource officer’s help goes much further than preparing for the worst. One can help with the day-to-day struggles to keep our children safe, from strangers, from each other. An officer can help develop procedures for quick intervention to get a hold on situations before they turn dangerous.

The adoption of the 2014-15 school board budget and approval of the county’s budget indicates a school resource officer will soon become a reality, after years of discussion. There’s no doubt safety is a priority in Union County, but it can be difficult to fund those peace-keeping positions. As the               La Grande Police Department struggles to stay above water, it was not able to fund a resource officer as much as the leaders wanted to. The sheriff’s office was able to shift some positions to help a resource officer from their office come to fruition. 

We hope to see this trend continue and hope the police department will soon be able to participate, too. We hope our leaders will continue to see the importance of safety and to allocate funding as needed to keep our community — and some of its most vulnerable, our youth — safe for years to come.