KELLOGG — Most would agree that a school is supposed to be a safe place where students are free to learn and interact with one another. The reality of the world though is that sometimes this is not always the case.
Despite the efforts by staff and administrators, crimes and violence still appear in schools. To combat this, many schools employ or host a school resource officer to keep students safe and prevent crimes from occurring.
The new man with this task at Kellogg High School is Shoshone County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Durflinger.
Since Oct. 1, Deputy Durflinger has been busy settling into his new role and getting to know the staff. This law enforcement presence is not only new for Durflinger, but also the students and staff too, as the role of SRO has not been filled for many years at KHS due to budget constraints.
The reinstated SRO position was brought about through the combined efforts of the sheriff’s office, the Kellogg School District and Shoshone County. Following several incidents in the district last year, parents voiced their concerns to the administration and got the ball rolling.
Sheriff Mike Gunderson explained that he and former Kellogg superintendent Woody Woodford started talking about the idea of an SRO last year, then presented it to both of their boards.
“It’s a collaborative effort between both Kellogg School District and the county to provide the school resource officer,” Gunderson said.
The agreement, which was approved by both the county commissioners and the school board, stated that the funding for the position would be split between the entities, the SRO would not be a school employee, and the deputy would serve a separate role during the summer when school is out.
It is anticipated that this separate role will be focused on patrolling the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River during recreation season.
All that was left after approval was to pick the deputy, and because of his personality, Durflinger fit the bill.
“I have never done this before,” Durflinger said. “I knew the position was becoming available and everybody knew that I would be really good for it with my demeanor and the way I am.”
Gunderson added that the feedback on Durflinger has been very positive so far.
“He is a great fit for the school district,” Gunderson said. “He’s been highly received by the staff at KHS and a lot of parents in the school district as well.”
With an SRO now at KHS, Gunderson believes that both the school distinct and the county have addressed many issues that were brought up by parents last year.
“His primary role is security,” he explained. “Make sure that the ground and students are safe. His second goal is to be a mentor, somebody there that has a voice that can be that in-between the school and the parent.”
Durflinger will work normal school hours and attend school functions such as sporting events. He also has the ability to step in as a substitute teacher or give special lectures.
When available, Durflinger will be sent to SRO school, so that he can teach others how to do the job.
If all goes well, it is possible that Kellogg Middle School could receive its own SRO in the near future.
“The biggest thing for us is to establish some goals and contacts,” Gunderson said. “Make sure our community feels that their kids are safe at school. We want to break down some of the bullying and other stuff.”
There are no plans at this time for an SRO at Wallace or Mullan schools, but the possibility exists.
As for how things are a month in, Durflinger has no complaints and hopes to be an influence in the lives of the students.
“I love it,” he said. “I will try and be a positive influence for the kids — a mentor. Not every kid’s going to come to the cop, but I’m here if they ever need to. They never need to call an officer up here to talk to somebody.”