The Bellevue Police Department is creating a new position to deal with students in the local schools who may show threats of violence.
“We are still trying to work out the details,” Lt. Howard Banks told the Times in a recen tinterview. “Ultimately, we’re trying to have a specialized program to assess (at-risk) students and provide services for those students and their parents. The focus is to get students on the right track.”
The department is looking to select and train an officer in the coming weeks. Banks said potential threats by students could involve fighting, shooting or a terroristic threat.
“Threats encompass a lot of things,” he said. “We want to reduce those threats.”
The new position responds to the growing number of shootings and threats occurring in schools nationwide, Banks said. Bellevue police want to be ready to deal with those instances should they occur in the local schools, he said.
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“We’re trying to be proactive and reduce threats,” Banks said.
The plan is to deal with potential threats individually, since each case may be different, Banks said. The new officer would ease the workload of those officers currently assigned as school resource officers.
The new role covers all Bellevue Public Schools buildings in Bellevue as well as Omaha Public Schools buildings within Bellevue city limits, Banks said.
The role is being filled within the department, so the added cost would be limited to training. Banks said the department will fund the position and any required training.
Though not part of the new program, private or parochial schools in Bellevue would see police respond to the scene if violence broke out there, just as before, Banks said.
“The goal is to get ahead before something happens,” he said. “This will be important for everybody.”
The Bellevue Public Schools is appreciative of the new police role.
“We are thankful for the wonderful partnership with the Bellevue Police Department, and the (school resource officer) support throughout our schools and community,” said district spokeswoman Amanda Oliver. “The increased support for threat reduction and mental health in our schools is a positive addition to our partnership.”