Making a change: Lovington schools gets new SRO
LOVINGTON – As a school resource officer (SRO), sometimes the job is more about being an ear for students and listening to what issues they may have going on.
“A mentor, a role model, a source of trust and stability,” Lovington Police Chief David Miranda said. “Sometimes, the student’s home life is in shambles and then their grades suffer and yeah there are counselors and teachers and stuff like that but maybe that SRO can be an outlet for a student. Someone they can trust.”
Lovington school’s newest SRO, Michael Cabello, plans to do just as Miranda said – be an outlet, someone the students can trust.
Cabello comes to the district with four years of experience and a goal of wanting to change the way the kids see the police.
“Not a lot of kids like police officers and I want to see if I can change people’s mindset as to how people see us,” Cabello said. “Just being there and someone to talk to, a safe haven for them. A lot times in this new age there is a lot of school shootings and I want to be sure the students know that I am there to protect them.”
Being an SRO is arguably one of the toughest jobs in law enforcement, having to serve as a liason between the department and the school, serving students, staff and parents daily, and being alert and ready to respond to any situation at any given moment, all while having to maintain a positive working relationship with students and their parents.
“He’s there not to scare the students or the parents, he’s there to work the schools,” Miranda said.
According to Miranda, Cabello will be responsible for overseeing 10 schools in Lovington and as a part of that responsibility, Cabello is to assist with students reporting of crimes who may otherwise be too afraid to go to the police station.
“I’ve worked cases where the girl saw a presentation at school and came home and disclosed to her parents that this had happened three or four years prior and that she was reluctant to come forward before,” Miranda said. “As a direct result of that presentation in school, I got a confession from the guy and a conviction. So those things do work. Those things can be in conjunction with law enforcement. Nine times out of ten, they don’t go running to the parents and the disclosure is to somebody else.”
Miranda explained the SRO program is funded by Lovington schools and if it weren’t for their assistance, the school’s may not have an SRO.
“I want to thank LeAnne Gandy and the Lovington municipal schools because they furnish $41,000 a year towards the SRO program,” Miranda said. “In other words, basically paying almost two-thirds of his salary.”
Cabello is excited to begin his work as an SRO and agrees that while it might be tough starting off, he hopes to make an impact on the lives of the students in Lovington schools.
Gabriella Arsiaga may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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