Community Partnership Spotlight: Nampa Police

Student safety is a top priority for the district, so partnering with the Nampa Police Department is really a no-brainer. Trained school resource officers (SROs) not only keep kids and facilities physically safe, their presence acts as a deterrent to crime and engenders a sense of security.

In addition, interactions between officers and students act to normalize law enforcement for those who may not have had positive interactions with officers. 

NSD has been partnering with the police department for more than 30 years. Early interactions included involvement in the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in elementary school, and later in the GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program. Today, SROs also occasionally step into a classroom to talk about internet safety or their career. And many take time to mentor kids or coach community sports.

“As kids interact with officers, they no longer just see the uniform,” said Carmen Boeger, NPD community engagement coordinator. “Now they see the SRO as a person they can build a trusted, positive relationship with. They can have fun together and the next time they need someone to talk to, they can talk to them.”

“We never really know the impact an SRO might have,” said Deputy Chief Curt Shankel. “It might be the fight that doesn’t happen, the runaway who isn’t or the shooting you don’t have. But over the years we’ve had several major incidents stopped because of a relationship the SRO had with a student who comes and talks to them about what is happening.”

In Their Own Words

I have been an SRO for only a few months, but I have been able to help multiple students and their families. One middle school student who stands out needed guidance because he was dealing with gang ties. I was able to guide him away from this and have been able to see him grow as a leader and role model in school. I spoke the truth to him about gangs and where they lead individuals. I also explained to this young man how he was a true leader by the way he was able to influence other students at his school. We talked about how to use his leadership skills for the betterment of his life and why it is so important to strive to be the best you can be in a world filled with darkness. I have now seen this young man make better choices and have a stronger character. To top it off, he now enjoys seeing me when at first, he would stay far away from me. 

Officer Arther Correa, SRO

I was working an event at the Idaho Center when I had a past Nampa High School graduate come up and give me a hug, telling me if it hadn’t been for me, she would not have graduated. She was a very headstrong young lady who needed some extra attention in order to steer her in the right direction. Sometimes kiddos just need a listening ear and to feel unjudged. I have had the privileged in my career as an SRO to build those relationships. Those kids will often come into my office and just need to unload the weight of the world momentarily. In those times, I will ask if they just need me to listen or if they are seeking advice. When you truly build that relationship with a kid, it’s imperative that you must never betray them. You never know how important your relationship is to them.

Corporal Jared Hoeksema, SRO

Building Connections

Nampa Police officers interact with students in numerous ways, including at Shop with a Cop, Popsicles with Police (a back-to-school social), Chalk the Walk, High Five Fridays, or on field trips.

These connections with students can be life changing. “Police are intimidating, they have to be,” Boeger said. “But kids have a different level of respect for them when they get to be around them regularly.”