School Resource Officers adjusting to new daily life with schools closed
Officers Nate Businger and Bobby Adler have taken on new roles within the Police Department for now
The familiar sounds of chatter in the halls and the daily interactions with students inside the walls of the various Moffat County School District buildings is what School Resource Officers Nate Businger and Bobby Adler miss the most.
When Spring Break hit, Officers Businger and Adler had no idea that the first week of March would be the last time they’d see students inside schools for the remainder of the academic school year. Following the executive order to close all schools for the remainder of the academic year by Governor Jared Polis, both Businger and Adler have had to adjust their roles with the Craig Police Department, leaving the friendly confines of the D.A.R.E program and the hallways of the schools behind (for now), to take on expanded roles within the department.
While the two SROs are staying busy with schools closed, they say that they miss the kids and the daily interactions at the schools more than anything.
“I definitely miss seeing the kids on a daily basis,” Officer Businger said. “If you ask any SRO why they’re an SRO, they’ll tell you it’s because they like interacting with students, and that’s what we enjoy doing.
“Not being able to do that daily has been tough,” Officer Businger added. “You build some really good relationships with students, and when you’re not able to cultivate those relationships on a daily basis, it takes a toll on us as SROs.
“When we can’t do that, it’s tough.”
Officer Businger, who has been an SRO within MCSD since 2018, says he spent some time out at Sherwood Forests to check in on a group of students that hangs out there, allowing him to make sure they’re staying safe and healthy and still completing their school work.
For Officer Adler, who started as an SRO in February 2020, he hasn’t had as much time as Officer Businger to establish those relationships, but he still misses those daily interactions.
“I got used to it, yeah,” Officer Adler said. “It’s been very difficult not seeing them every day. You just get used to that daily interaction and then we were dealt these cards and it’s been tough.”
Currently, Officer Businger is working with Detective Norm Rimmer with Major Crime Investigations, while Officer Adler is handling patrol duties for CPD.
“That’s definitely been a big step forward in my career,” Officer Businger said. “I’m learning new skills, and it’s been very rewarding. A lot of those skills will translate back into the work that I do in the schools.”
For Officer Adler, the chance to patrol the community has allowed him to get to know his new community on a more personal level.
“This has given me extra time to go out and visit people,” Officer Adler said. “It gives us a good reason to go and talk to people, and ultimately we’re building relationships with the community and let them know we’re here for them.”
Officer Businger and Officer Adler both saw an area of opportunity when it comes to SROs.
For Officer Businger, he saw an obvious need for school safety, especially in a day and age where school violence is at an all-time high.
Officer Adler, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to become a role model of sorts within the school system, which is something he didn’t have growing up in the Fort Collins area.
“When I was growing up, we didn’t really have a good role model in my community,” Officer Adler said. “The SRO wasn’t developed when I was in school like we have in Craig. When I saw this position available, I saw it as an opportunity to be the mentor that I never had as a kid. So far, it’s worked out to our advantage.”
AWAITING THE RETURN OF STUDENTS
While schools are closed down until at least the start of the 2020-2021 academic year later this fall, those relationships developed with students still play a part in Officer Businger and Officer Adler’s day-to-day roles in the community.
The most rewarding part for Officer Businger is patrolling around town with his windows down and hearing a student shout out to him.
“That’s absolutely rewarding to me, that students still want to talk to me,” Officer Businger said.
While Officer Adler is still settling into his new role, he says it’s so refreshing to see the students out and about in the community.
“It’s great to see the kids outside still being kids,” Officer Adler said. “It’s refreshing, really, seeing kids just being kids and not worrying about things adults have to worry about in a time like this.”
For now, Officers Businger and Adler are anxiously awaiting the day that they can return to their normal role as SRO, allowing them to be back in the halls interacting with students.
“My favorite time of school is those first few days, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to that, seeing the kids and catching up,” Officer Businger said.
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Update: 2:30 p.m.: Moffat County High School and Ridgeview Elementary were put into a shelter in place Wednesday morning for an incident that occurred in the 800 block of Columbine.