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Benton Police Department kicked off today its back-to-school campaign entitled “BNPD…Coming to a School Near You Aug. 15th.” This month-long initiative is a close relative of the kid-focused summer programs and will emphasize the presence of both school resource officers and patrol officers on Benton Public Schools campuses.

BNPD School Resource Officer Supervisor and Community Relations Sergeant Quinton Jackson said the school year allows for a continuation of relationship-building and mentoring, as well as ensuring the safety of both children and staff.

“During the summer months, residents get to see us more in parks and other areas that are popular youth hangouts, and in many ways, that kind of time spent with the kids is unique in that it enables them to see us outside of a formal setting and perhaps as just a bit more human, but there’s something special about getting to see the same kids day in and day out and having the opportunity to mentor and build rapport with them on a deeper level.”

Though school doesn’t start for a few more weeks, Jackson said this campaign is designed to let students, staff and parents know ahead of time that officers are ever ready to help- be it with security or common life issues.

“We are often considered an extension of the parenting role, and that’s a pretty accurate analogy. Most of us have children of our own, and we want to see our school kids excel just as much as we do our own.”

He added that success begins with a sense of security, something BNPD has worked closely with Benton Public Schools for many years to provide. Heading into the 2018 school year, BNPD has an additional SRO, bringing the total to 5, who will maintain a presence at each of the district’s schools.

“We have a few of the SROs who divide their time between schools,” Jackson said, “and then in addition to the SRO presence, patrol officers will continue to do daily walk-throughs. Training throughout the summer also keeps us prepared, so we look forward to a productive, safe school year for everyone.”

The campaign will include a variety of safety tips, facts, photos and as usual, lots of officer and civilian interaction, according to Jackson. He recommends following BNPD on social media or the BNPD app, if you haven’t already, to stay up to date on this campaign and other BNPD news.

For inquiries, contact BNPD at 501-776-5948 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.