Deputy will respond to Colton 911 incidents while on duty in the schools.

by: CINDY FAMA - Colton Superintendent Linda Johnson with new school resource officer, Robert Strand.The Colton School District hired Clackamas County Deputy Sheriff Robert Strand last week as the new school resource officer for Colton schools.

"Deputy Strand will be assigned to our schools from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week,” said Colton Superintendent Linda Johnson. “He is here primarily for the safety of our schools and our community. He will be responding to 911 incidents in our area while he is on duty and that will definitely shorten the forty-five minute response time that is usual out here.”

At the April meeting of the Colton School District’s board of directors, the Safe Schools Committee, formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy to address safety issues within the district, offered suggestions for imitating safety protocols and presented their recommendations. The highest priority on the committee’s list was the hire of a School Resource Officer (SRO), a police trained officer and connected with the Clackamas County Sherriff’s Office (CCSO).

The board approved hiring an officer for the 2013-14 school year. The annual cost to the district was set at $85,000; because the SRO would be an employee of Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, and the insurance for the officer would be covered by the CCSO. After a selection and interview process, the district hired Strand to fill the position.

"It is my understanding that this will enhance the delivery of law enforcement in the community as well,” said school board president, Joe Nelson. “He won't just be a student resource officer. In effect he will be a community resource officer.”

Strand has been with Clackamas County Sheriffs' Office for eight years and says he knows the geography of Colton and surrounding areas well. He was an SRO for the North Clackamas School District for two years. He has availed himself of training opportunities along the way, including the Child Abuse and Family Violence Summit, educating professional on investigating, interviewing and assessing young people about abuse and violence situations. He has also had additional training in student rights and networking with students and families.

Strand's roles at the schools include law enforcement officer, law-related counselor and law-related education teacher.

"Mr. Bruner already had me speak to his government and economics class about search and seizure law. The students asked some good questions and we discussed the law in depth,” Strand said.

Tom Crane, principal of Colton High School said they had already utilized Strand to address a non-student who was present in the parking lot.

“It is great to have him in our district supporting school safety,” Crane said.

Johnson stated that all student and classroom behaviors will still be taken care of by staff and administration and only illegal activities and safety concerns will be handled by the SRO. She is hoping that Strand will build a relationship with students that will encourage their trust and willingness to confide concerns and issues with him.

Strand is married and has five children, two girls and three boys, between the ages of nine and twenty. He has coached T-ball, soccer, football, basketball and wrestling at his children's schools.

“I want to get to know the community and their concerns,” Strand said.

To contact Strand, call the district office, 503-824-3535, and leave a message.

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