When Storm Lake Police Officer Jeff Nyren walks into David Skibsted's class, students don't fall silent at the sight of a police officer - instead, students greet him like an old friend, calling him Officer Nyren or Jeff.
Nyren is the Storm Lake School Resource Officer, a program the Storm Lake School District and the Storm Lake Police Department began this year. Quickly approaching the two-month mark, school and police officials report that the program is already meeting goals set two years ago when discussion of the program first began.
Nyren himself says that many students see him as a helper and not an enemy. While the National Association of School Resource Officers say it takes three to four years for the officer to become fully immersed and trusted by the students, Nyren feels well ahead of that mark.
However, he was not that comfortable when he started.
"I had no idea what I was getting into," Nyren, an 11-year veteran of the Storm Lake Police Department, said, adding that he was apprehensive when he first stepped foot into the high school as the school resource officer.
"It's different going from working with an adult society to working with students. There are all sorts of things you need to change," he said, such as his demeanor and approach to the students, and to a certain extent, even how he speaks.
High School Principal Mike Hanna is pleased with how well the program is working so far. He said they have been incorporating the program slowly in the high school, while identifying where the needs are.
Read the rest of this story in the 10/5 Pilot Tribune.