Graver’s role as SRO establishes positive relationship

Last week, new SRO Dawn Graver visited with the third graders about stranger danger. Since starting the job on Oct. 9, Graver has spent time at each MCSD building, making her presence known. She said she wants to create a positive relationship with the students. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     In an effort to foster a positive working relationship between the Monticello Police Department and Monticello Community School District, a new position was created and filled by Officer Dawn Graver.

     Oct. 9 was Graver’s first day on the job as the School Resource Officer, working throughout all four public school buildings, grades K-12, in the community.

     “We want to create a positive atmosphere in the schools,” said Graver.

     During her first day on the job, Graver took the time to visit each school and met with the three principals as well about her services.

     Aside from being visible within the district, Graver will also attend school functions such as athletic events outside of the regular school day.

     “We want to promote this as a safe school environment,” she said.

     After taking on the job, Graver reached out to several different SROs in neighboring school districts for advice and insight into the job, which is something new for Monticello.

     “I wanted to see what they do on any given day,” she said.

     Aside from her continued D.A.R.E. training, Graver plans to attend a SRO conference next summer, and will keep up with her regular law enforcement training as well.

     Since starting here, Graver visited the third grades classes at Carpenter School to talk to them about stranger danger.

     “After 27 years in the streets, this is a nice change of pace,” Graver said of her time in law enforcement.

     She is working with the middle school kids on creating Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 23-31) posters to display throughout the school.

     In 1996, she was promoted to sergeant, and has been the D.A.R.E. officer since 2007. While serving as the SRO, Graver will continue to teach D.A.R.E. to the fifth graders at the middle school.

     Since she started D.A.R.E., Graver was able to teach all three of her own children in the program.

     Graver said she is very much a people-person, and is looking forward to being in the classrooms, working with a wide range of age groups.

     “It’s about being a positive role model versus an enforcer. I love to talk to people,” she said. “All around it’s a better deal for everyone.”

     According to the 28E agreement between the city and the MCSD, “The SRO will provide guidance and support in assisting school staff, students and parents with a variety of non-emergency police-related matters.”

     Graver works eight-hour days (as opposed to her previous 12-hour days), a change which she also likes, and is able to see her children more, inside and outside of school.

     “I’m home with my kids in the morning and after school,” she said.

     Graver spent one of her lunch periods at the middle school with her son and his friends, who all referred to her as “Reeve’s mom.” Graver also has a daughter in high school.

     “That’s how they recognize me which is nice,” Graver said.

     Other teaching opportunities Graver has in the works includes a defensive tactics class for high schoolers. “You need to be aware of what’s going on around you,” she said.

     Since she started, Graver shared she’s always handled a few minor issues “with students making bad choices.”

     “It’s been nothing major though,” she said.

     During the lunch periods, especially at the high school, Graver visits with students in the commons area.

     She is also working with the high school’s student organization SODA (Students Opposed to Drugs and Alcohol) group. Graver said what started out small has expanded to 35 students.

     When school is not in session, Graver will then take on her police duty work through the MPD. During a previous Monticello City Council meeting, Chief Britt Smith explained Graver would remain the department’s primary sexual assault investigator. She will also provide extra coverage for community events such as the fair.

     Graver said the MPD and MCSD are ahead of its time when it comes to placing a local police officer within the school buildings. She said not every community has the option of having a SRO readily available.

     “Just because you see the police car outside of the school,” warned Graver, “doesn’t mean something bad happened.”



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