School resource officers make a difference in Garfield Re-2
Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Trisha Worley is living in the best of both worlds.
As the new school resource office (SRO) for Coal Ridge High School, she is happily mixing her lifetime desire to be a teacher with her passion for law enforcement.
“I really want to help kids out,” said Deputy Worley. “There is a lot that goes on in high school that can confuse people. I want to be another resource that the Coal Ridge students and parents can turn to for help.”
Worley has been on the job since the beginning of August, replacing now Cpl. Jesse Burris. She was born and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley, and although she spent a few years away, she’s happy to be raising her 8-year-old son in a place she considers home.
She and Rifle SRO Officer Will Van Teylingen provide a variety of services to the students, staff and families of Garfield Re-2, few of which fall under the conventional understanding of the term “enforcement.”
“Safety, education and interaction — those are the things I do on a daily basis,” said Van Teylingen, now in his second year as Rifle’s SRO. “I’d like to think that my presence in the schools makes people feel safer, but I look at it as having someone around that has additional resources to bring to a situation if needed.”
He cited a recent example where his medical training was able to assist students in need.
“It’s all about relationships,” he added. “The ability to speak with kids in the hall about issues they have may likely prevent larger things from happening in the future.”
Worley agrees that interacting with the students is a key skill in being an SRO.
“I’m here to protect the kids, keep them safe, and help them have positive experiences. I want to be more of a mentor or a coach, though,” she explained. “I want to interact with kids and help them in any way that I can.”
With just 18 days of classes under their belts for the school year, both have already gotten their feet wet in the classroom. Van Teylingen has taught 11 classes, with the majority being about cyber-safety, including three at Rifle Middle School. He has taught a math class on how the police use math and a psychology class. Worley has conducted some classes for CRHS staff and is preparing for student classes about Internet safety, depression, suicide prevention and sexting.
Worley also began a new program at Coal Ridge, “The Cop Shop.” Students can take a piece of paper, write down their concerns, alert her to a problem, or ask her a question and put the paper in the secured box hanging outside her office window. She is the only one that has a key to the box, and the only one that will be checking it. Anonymous questions will likely be answered in the school’s newsletter.
School resource officers, said Worley, along with all law enforcement officers, are here to help the community.
“We are here to help, to make the community a safer place,” she explained. “I want people to stop in, say ‘Hi’ or give me a call if they have a question or concern.”
Citizens can find Worley at Coal Ridge High School at 665-6700 or Van Teylingen at 970-665-7725.
The next Garfield Re-2 school board meeting will be at Kathryn Senor Elementary beginning at 5 p.m. on September 22.
If you have questions, comments or concerns regarding anything in Garfield Re-2, please contact Garfield Re-2 Director of Districtwide Services Theresa Hamilton at 970-665-7621.
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