There will likely be a lot more police cars at Riverside School District, but not because there’s any danger. Spokane County Sheriff Deputies now have 24/7 use of a small office at the district.
The “unique partnership” kicked off Tuesday with a ribbon cutting by Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Superintendent Ken Russell.
The idea for a small office where deputies could fill out their reports or use the restroom late at night during their graveyard shift came from a conversation between School Resource Officer Mike Brooks and the school safety director.
Brooks said it’s often difficult for deputies to find a quiet place to get paperwork done while on patrol. The small office with an attached bathroom wasn’t being used by the school district, so Brooks set out to renovate it. He used extra furniture from around the school and repainted the office himself.
“This gives them a time out of their car to sit down and actually do report writing,” Brooks said.
Knezovich said the office is a new way to practice community oriented policing, which is a goal of the department, by increasing contacts with students and families.
“The best thing the partnership brings is a better connection with the community,” Knezovich said. “Like it or not, for some communities the schools are that hub.”
Riverside is an unincorporated community in North Spokane County that might be busier than people think when it comes to law enforcement need, Knezovich said.
“This far north, it’s not as quiet as a lot of people think,” Knezovich said.
“Riverside seems to be the hub between north, south, east and west where people come through here,” Brooks said. “It’s a busy intersection.”
For the school district, having an increased law enforcement presence is preventative, Russell said.
“If families are coming on campus and kids are around here and they look around and they see not only Deputy Brooks, but other officers, there’s just a feeling of safety, a feeling of security,” Russell said.
The only request the district had in exchange for providing the office space was that deputies make a quick lap around the district campus when they arrive and leave.
Russell said he sees law enforcement’s goals as similar to the school’s work and that the partnership only furthers that work.
“It’s so important for our students and for our families that we show partnership between law enforcement and schools, because our missions are very similar,” Russell said. “We’re here to serve others, to serve our communities and to build relationships with those we serve.”
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