Police officers are in schools to keep kids safe, but a school resource officer at Lincoln High School says it’s really students who contribute the most to their own safety every day.
A Lincoln High School student asks, “Doesn’t tear gas also make you cough and stuff?”
“Yes, pepper spray can too. Pepper spray doesn’t just burn, it feels like you can’t breath but you can,” school resource officer Robert Draeger said.
Students asking questions about officer Robert Draeger’s less than lethal tool kit might seem like idle chit chat, but getting to know as many students as possible is all part of a school resource officer’s job.
“We can’t be everywhere in the school, we don’t know everything that’s going on here, but the kids do and if they know something is going on, hopefully they’ll come tell us about it,” said Draeger.
Draeger says the safety plan in every Sioux Falls school begins right at the front door.
“When you come into a school, if you’re not a student, you’re going to have to check in, provide an ID. We don’t just let people walk around the buildings like they used to,” said Draeger.
Draeger says there’s a lot of security you don’t see, that he can’t talk about and yes, school resource officers are trained specifically to deal with an active shooter.
“We have a lot of resource officers and a lot of, just police officers on patrol in the city. If something happens in our school, the response is going to be swift,” said Draeger.
Draeger says his main message to parents and students is simple, if you see something, say something.
“The kids in our schools are the ones helping to keep themselves safe. I think students feel safe in our schools. I hope they do, we work hard to keep them safe,” said Draeger.