School resource officer Randy Davis will be leaving his post as the Lovell Police Department’s liaison officer with North Big Horn County School District No. 2 at the end of this month. Davis will be leaving to take a position with the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
It wasn’t a decision that came easy for Davis, who has been working with students and administrators within the school district for three years now.
“I love working with the kids,” said Davis. “I’m really going to miss them. I like being able to have an influence on their lives.”
Davis thinks the school resource officer position is an effective way for the police department to form a relationship with the children from an early age.
“I think it’s more about the relationship with the kids than about enforcing in the schools,” explained Davis. “The school resource officer is an extension of the police department and they see me on a regular basis in uniform, as a police officer. So when those kids have an issue or a problem, they’re not afraid to talk to me. Whether they see me in my car or in Minchow’s or at the gas station, they’re not afraid to walk up and talk to me and they do all the time.”
In his capacity as SRO, Davis visits all three campuses in Lovell whenever school is in session. He’s on a first name basis with many of the children and even joins them for lunch in the school cafeteria as part of his regular routine.
“There are a lot of kids who don’t have a positive influence for whatever reason and they need someone to say positive words to them,” said Davis. “Encouraging them is something I think is important.”
It’s not uncommon to see kids walk up to Davis and give him a high five or a hug. Davis thinks this friendly interaction with kids helps other officers, as well, because the kids he has contact with form a positive association with the uniform he and other officers wear.
It’s just as much a public relations job with the kids as it is an enforcement job, said Davis.
“We’ll never know what kind of crime we’ve averted or kept from happening because there is no way to know that,” said Davis. “We don’t know if we kept a fight from happening or a shooting from happening. There’s just no way to know that, but we do know that the kids trust us more because we are there for them.”
Davis doesn’t think a student should ever be afraid to come to school and he takes his job of providing a safe environment for the kids very seriously.
“From time to time we have had thefts or kids using tobacco, minor traffic incidents like one student backing into another kid’s car,” said Davis. “Bullying is something I take very seriously, though. I have cited kids for harassment in the form of bullying or texting. I’ve definitely done it and I’m not afraid to do it, either.”
Davis works closely with the principals of all three schools.
“It’s important to have a good relationship with the staff, but even more important to have a good relationship with the kids,” said Davis. “We’re not there for anyone else, in my opinion, but the kids. Part of that is helping them through enforcement or helping them by just being available to talk to them.”
Davis makes extra effort to reach out to the kids he thinks need him the most. He has coordinated rallies and other events that he thinks will inspire the kids like the Harlem Ambassadors. He also coordinates a bike rodeo every year to teach kids about bicycle safety.
“Working with the kids is the part I’m going to miss the most,” said Davis. “That honestly was the hardest part of the decision.”
“I think he did a phenomenal job,” said Lovell Police Chief Nick Lewis. “Although he always kept a good relationship with the school staff, he mostly concentrated on his relationship with the kids, which is exactly what I want that position to be. We are going to miss him.”
Davis will continue his work as the police department’s liaison with the schools through March 30 and will be replaced by Kurt Dobbs. Davis has already taken Dobbs to the school with him on numerous occasions so that the children will already know him on his first day on the job.
By Patti Carpenter