by Bethany Spencer / firstname.lastname@example.org
In today’s society, police officers are often looked upon in a negative light. Pella Christian and the Pella police department are striving to change this. “Any time we can forge positive relationships between students and law enforcement, everyone wins,” said principal Dan Van Kooten. “Law enforcement can stay in touch with what it’s like to be a student; students can learn that officers are on their side and are good people.”
In past years the Pella Community schools have had a liaison officer. This year, however, they do not. The chief of police, Robert Bokinsky, felt the position should be implemented at Pella Christian. At the moment, the liaison officer is “very part time,” according to Van Kooten. “We are waiting for a grant to come through to fund his work full time.”
Officer Nathan Wolff was chosen for the position. “For now, my main interaction will come from visiting campus during breaks and lunches, as well as attending special events,” he said. “I try to get to campus as often as I can, but sometimes my work schedule doesn’t allow for frequent visits.”
Wolff’s responsibilities include being available to speak to students and acting as the main contact between the police department and school. “I just want students and parents to know that I am here for them, and if they have any questions or concerns to feel free to ask,” said Wolff.
He recognizes that getting to know students may be a challenge. “Before, every time a police officer came to school, it seemed like someone was getting in trouble or following up with an incident” said Wolff. “Now we want the kids and staff to them as positive visits.”