SRO Hotline established for district’s students
Baldwin City students have a new tool to use to make their schools safer. The Baldwin City Police Department started the SRO Hotline Monday.
Students are encouraged to call the hotline at (785)423-1789 whenever they witness a crime or hear information regarding a crime, whether it's on school property during school hours or not. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"We just got it Monday," said Kim Springer, the school resource officer for the police department. "Basically, this number will get a voice mail that this is Officer Springer on the SRO Hotline. They can be confidential if they want to."
Because Springer goes to all schools in the district, the cell phone hotline was the answer.
"With me being back and forth between buildings, a land line wasn't working," she said.
The number is designed to give students the opportunity to report crimes or suspicious activity without being singled out.
"If there's a theft at the high school and they don't want to go to the office and tell on their friend, they can use this number," said Springer.
It's not just about property crimes, either.
"If they know someone is planning to harm someone else, they should report him or her," she said. "Most of us have learned from an early age that it is wrong to 'tattle,' but in some instances it is the most courageous thing they can do. Tell a trusted adult, such as a teacher, guidance counselor, principal or parent.
"If they are afraid and believe that telling would put them in danger or lead to retaliation, they should use the SRO anonymous hotline to contact the authorities," said Springer.
Information on the program has been posted at the schools and e-mails were sent out to everyone in the district. It includes details such as:
What should be reported?
- Weapons on school property
- Drugs or alcohol on school property
- Any drug usage
- Alcohol usage
- Child abuse
- Damage to property
- Talk of a fight or a fight that happened
- Any violent crime
- Thefts/stolen property
- Any other information that the school and the SRO needs to know about
- What happened or what was seen in detail.
- Victim's name if known, detailed description if not.
- Suspect's name if known, detailed description if not.
- Date and time it happened.
- May the SRO contact the caller? If yes, leave name and phone number.
Springer has put out additional information on the program, including more specifics. The whole idea is giving students a chance to talk and Police Chief Mike McKenna thinks it's great.
"It's something we've needed for a long time," said McKenna. "Kids need to communicate. We have been exploring ways to communicate with them."
Although only available since Monday, the hotline is working, although he wouldn't comment on how.
"In just the short time we've had it, we know it works," he said. "Yes, it's been used, but I couldn't comment further than that."
He's sure it will be used a lot, too.
"Sometimes kids see something that's wrong, but they don't want others to know it's them that says anything about it," said McKenna. "It opens that avenue of communication for them and for us."