The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Police officers build trust in public schools

Nov. 13, 2014 - With police officers stationed at the high school and two public middle schools, the Oak Park Police Department is in a unique position to reach out to kids and teens throughout their educational career in the Village.

The School Resource Officer program dates back nearly two decades, when the Police Department first partnered with District 200 to place an officer in Oak Park and River Forest High School. The initiative expanded in 2007 to include Brooks Middle School and Julian Middle School, each of which has its own School Resource Officer.

“We felt it was extremely important to reach these kids at a young age, to help establish a positive dialogue with their local police officers,” says Police Chief Rick Tanksley.

The dual goals of the program are to maintain a safe, secure school environment and to demonstrate the department’s strong interest in serving youth in Oak Park.

Each officer works out of an office at the assigned school, providing a reliable, friendly presence in the hallways each day.

School Resource Officers are chosen specifically for their interests in youth culture, including contemporary issues and concerns, as well as their ability to communicate clearly with students and educators.

On the job, the officers keep the lines of communication open among students, educators, parents, school administrators and law enforcement.

They also are the first point of contact for any police investigations that might take place in the school.

In addition, the officers coordinate drills, provide input on school safety plans and speak to classes, student organizations and parent groups.

For more information on the School Resource Officer program, call 708.386.3800 or email