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New School Resource Officer Aims For Student Connections

Alexis Carlson is serving as the elementary and middle school resource officer for Jamestown Public Schools. Her goal is to provide transparency while offering safety and security for each student. P-J photo by Timothy Frudd

The Jamestown Public Schools District has welcomed a new resource officer for the elementary and middle schools this year.

Officer Alexis Carlson from the Jamestown Police Department is serving as the new resource officer. She is responsible for the eight schools and the middle school students who attend the Raymond J. Fashano Technical Academy.

School resource officers are known for providing safety and security for students, staff members and visitors; however, Carlson said her job extends further than maintaining safety.

“Besides the obvious job of security and safety of everyone in and around the buildings, my job is really to build relationships with the kids and just let them know that I’m there as a resource and someone that they could ask about anything or hopefully I can help point them in the right direction,” she said.

Carlson has served as a police officer for over seven years, with more than five years of service at the Jamestown Police Department. She has also served as a school resource officer in the Falconer school district in the past.

Over the past five and a half years, Carlson has been a drug recognition expert with the road patrol at the police department. Her experience on the road patrol unit has provided her with the ability to use proactive measures to maintain safety and security, which will translate well into her new role in the Jamestown Police Department’s partnership with Jamestown Public Schools.

Carlson’s decision to serve as the school’s resource officer comes from her desire to help people as a police officer.

“The reason I got into law enforcement from the very beginning was to help people,” she said. “I know that sounds kind of cliche at times because I think a lot of people say that. But honestly, that’s the main reason most of us get into it.”

While Carlson said the Jamestown Police Department has maintained a positive response from the community, she acknowledged the growing difficulty law enforcement has faced with public scrutiny in the past couple of years.

Carlson is determined to provide elementary and middle school students with a positive example of law enforcement.

“I just want to try to portray to the kids the best side that police can be, because some of these kids, unfortunately, will see the bad aspects of us having to arrest someone in their household, or sometimes kids think police only arrest people and that can be looked upon negatively,” she said. “I want to be able to show them all of the other things that we can do and that it’s not all about arresting people, it’s really just having conversations with people.”

By establishing meaningful connections with the students at Jamestown Public Schools, Carlson hopes to help children understand that police officers are there to help them. She also wants them to feel comfortable approaching police officers throughout the city if they are ever in need of help.

While maintaining the safety of Jamestown Public Schools is her top priority, Carlson views the establishing of healthy relationships with the students as equally important.

“It’s extremely important for me to build those relationships,” she said. “That’s all I’ve been doing these past two weeks.”

According to Carlson, one of the biggest challenges she faces in her role as a resource officer is communication. She admitts it is often difficult to answer the difficult questions students ask her at school and to remain transparent while also not overwhelming the students with the difficult experiences she has been a part of as a police officer.

“I’m just trying to be transparent with the kids,” she said. “I want to be able to communicate to them as clear as I can, but also protecting them too, and then for them just to have a better understanding of what police do.”

Having been removed from a school environment for many years, Carlson said it has been a great experience returning to the classrooms and visiting the different elementary and middle schools. She enjoys learning the different perspectives of the students and staff members, while also encouraging the students to become “stronger individuals.”

Carlson said she is grateful the school district and the police department were able to work together to create her resource officer position. Based on recent reactions from the students, staff members and parents, she believes the community is both excited and appreciative of her position with the school.

“I’m really happy that both the public school and our department were both excited about this position,” she said. “I would love for more school resource officers, because it is a fun job. It’s fun being back with the kids and I think the kids need more of it. I think this is going in a really good direction, and I hope it just continues.”

Dr. Kevin Whitaker, superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools, said the school district is pleased to have her join the school as the new resource officer.

“We are very happy to welcome Alexis Carlson as our new SRO who will be focusing her efforts on early intervention and support with our elementary students,” he said. “Her role will be introducing safety concepts to our youngest students, as well as being involved in anti-drug education and being a good listening partner to our students who may be going through some confusing times outside of school. She has recently completed the national SRO certification courses, and has a plethora of educational resources and skills that she is looking forward to using with our kids and our staff.”

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