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First School Resource Officer at Canton R-V

It’s something that could happen even in a small community, someone threatening your children’s safety while they’re in school. A northeast Missouri school is taking new steps to keep students and staff safe.

At the Canton R-V school district where they had their first day Wednesday, students got a chance to meet the school’s first-ever school resource officer.

“It’s something the police chief wanted to do since he became police chief here,” said the new face in the halls of Canton R-V this year Officer Justin Allen, who is now the school’s resource officer.

He said being in the school makes it easier for him respond to any safety issues for students and staff.

“Our response time if we’re on duty is within a couple minutes, whereas with me in the school, I can be anywhere in the school in about 30 seconds, and seconds matter in a critical incident,” said Officer Allen.

Teachers at Canton R-V said the addition of a school resource officer puts their minds at ease as the school year starts.

“I didn’t realize we were going to get one until honestly my first day here and I was really excited because I think it’s really important for the safety of our students that we have someone here,” said Jr. High math teacher
Alyssa Uppinghouse, adding that it goes beyond just the safety of her students.

“It’s a good thing that we have an officer in the building building a positive relationship with the community,” said Uppinghouse.

A big part of that is Officer Allen’s training. He went to a week of training in St. Louis last month, covering things like mentorship and student interaction. It also covered how to act as an educational speaker on the law and other subjects.

“It’s to help them understand, especially as they get older, that we are there to help them, it’s nothing to be scared of we’re just there to help, even in a situation like a traffic violation,” said Officer Allen.

Canton R-V officials said the new school resource officer is a city employee, but the school district pays half of his salary.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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