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Union Student Safety HelpLine
August 28, 2003
Union student assistance coordinator Danny Williams, in front, receives support and assistance throughout the year from School Resource Officers pictured behind him. They are Broken Arrow Police Officer Jim Gunter, Sgt. Willie Lewis, who supervises the SRO program for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Officer, Deputy E.T. Truewell, Deputy Brandon Hendrix, who fills in for the sheriff’s department, and Deputy Mark Penley. Not pictured is Deputy David Kerpon, who is also an SRO.
Students and faculty can find a friend in police officers whose daily "beat" includes the halls of Union secondary and elementary schools.
The School Resource Officer (SRO) program is a federally funded safety and educational project involving four local law enforcement officers: E.T. Truewell, Mark Penley and David Kerpon, of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department, and Jim Gunter of the Broken Arrow Police Department. Gunter is new to the SRO program at Union.
While the sheriff’s deputies oversee the SRO program district wide, Gunther works at the five Union schools located within Broken Arrow city limits: Andersen, Moore, McAuliffe, Peters and the 8th Grade Center.
The officers, who are specially trained to work with students and faculty, perform all of the regular responsibilities normally assigned to on-duty officers. In addition, they are trained to teach "officer friendly" classes and to support the district's Character Counts and Drug-Free Youth programs.
The officers are housed in the 6th/7th Grade Center, 8th Grade Center and Intermediate High School, though each is assigned to serve specific elementary and secondary schools and all respond to calls within their police department's boundaries. As part of their job duties, officers provide intervention and preventive services, making home visits and offering assistance within the family setting.
According to Danny Williams, Union’s coordinator of student assistance, the officers do more than provide protection. "One of their main objectives is to befriend and help our students," he said. "The SRO program is aimed at preventing kids from getting into trouble, and the more we can meet that objective, the better off the whole community will be."