School resource officers, police officers who are embedded in public schools, have become commonplace in Rhode Island. But the practice is under new scrutiny after a controversial incident in South Carolina, where an officer dragged a high school student from her chair, flipping the student and her desk onto the floor in the process.Burrillville Police Officer David Beauchemin describes his approach and experiences as a school resource officer.
In Burrillville, Officer David Beauchemin takes what I would describe as a community policing approach to the district's five public schools.
In this excerpt from our interview, Beauchemin describes his routine of walking school hallways, keeping an eye out for trouble and getting to know students personally. We spoke while Beauchemin was on patrol at Burrillville High School.
While Beauchemin does get involved with discipline, including incidents involving drugs and vandalism, he also participates in afterschool programs, and he views his job as an opportunity for kids to see a police officer as a person, rather than the cop who shows up in a negative situation.