Laurel students in good hands with school resource officers

By 
Torrey Anderson
Thursday, August 25, 2022
Laurel Chief of Police Stan Langve with School Resource Officers Ryan Sedgwick and Haley Swan. Photo by Torrey Anderson

Laurel Chief of Police Stan Langve with School Resource Officers Ryan Sedgwick and Haley Swan. Photo by Torrey Anderson

Laurel Middle and High School students will have some new supports in place for the 2022/2023 school year. Two new School Resource Officers will begin their terms patrolling the hallowed halls of learning in Laurel. The SRO program in Laurel schools has come a long way in the years since it’s inception, and Laurel police Chief Stan Langve is proud of the program and the impact that it has on Laurel’s greatest resource.

“This is a qualified success,” says Langve. “It’s a career where you can have a positive influence. Our kids are an investment.” Langve says the need for the program was recognized 23 years ago, when officers working on afternoon shifts were dealing with an inordinate amount of complaints centered around the High and Middle schools. Officers responded to a large number of assault complaints from students and even teachers. “The kids were all over the place. So it was a need. Probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done in my career, “ says Langve. Some students and parents were shocked to encounter police officers in the schools, but support for the program quickly aligned and the department started seeing a decrease in student related complaints.

“I’m excited for the challenge of helping the school, ” says Officer Ryan Sedgwick. This year, Sedgwick will begin his first assignment as the resource officer in the Laurel Middle School. Sedgwick is a three year veteran of the LPD.

Laurel High School will be the scene for Officer Haley Swan’s first venture as SRO. Swan is a two-and-a-half year veteran of the LPD. “I was drawn by the role model, teaching, and coaching aspect of it,” says Swan. Both officers completed a mandatory 40 hours of specialty training to fill their roles. The SRO program also offers an additional 25 hours of advanced training for officers to expand their skills.

The Laurel School District is responsible for paying the Resource Officer’s salaries. Chief Langve is grateful for the support that the SRO program has received from the community and Laurel’s Superintendent of Schools. “We have a great relationship,” says Langve. “They recognize that we go far beyond campus security. We are building connections.” Those connections form an important bridge to the hearts and minds of youth in the community.

Chief Langve and the Resource Officers understand that their relationships with students may be the deciding factor in some of the choices that kids make. While the primary goal of the program is to provide security, resource officers do so much more. Chief Langve says, “People don’t realize how many hats my officers wear.” The officers also provide an ear to listen. “We aren’t counselors, but we provide counseling services, ” says Langve. Children sometimes make bad choices, but the school resource officers try to focus on correcting those decisions in an informal way before getting a child into the legal system. There are some issues that require that option, but most kids are given every opportunity to correct negative behaviors before resorting to formal charges and procedures.

As school bells are ringing across Laurel neighborhoods, parents can rest assured that their children are in good hands. School Resource Officers Sedgwick and Swan bring their experience, vigilance, and compassion to the needs of Laurel’s greatest resource, our children.

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