STEVENSVILLE – Stevensville Public Schools has been without a permanent solution for their SRO position since April, but Chief James Marble has found the answer to their problem.
Now the Stevensville Police Department has a new officer protecting the halls of Stevensville Public Schools.
While he might not have a lot of time on the Stevensville police force he has plenty of experience serving and protecting Montana communities
“I was a police officer in Helena for several years and I was also a DARE officer, so I know what it’s like to be in a school environment,” new Stevenville SRO Kevin Oberhofer said.
Being a school resource officer presents different obstacles than being on patrol and requires a different approach to the job.
“It’s more about building relationships. Teaming with the teachers and building relationships to help the kids make right decisions any way I can,” Oberhofer said. “So the teachers here are already successful in what they do and I’m just another aspect to help compliment what they do for the kids to make wise choices and be successful.”
Oberhofer is starting to build those relationships in every kids favorite time of the day: lunch.
“I go to the cafeteria and sit with them at lunch time. You know, I’m at their level and just started building relationships and they just, it’s really neat to them to have an officer sitting there right with them,” Oberhofer said.
One aspect of the job is to build relationships with students and staff and help manage students but another is to protect everyone at the school.
“School safety, security, help the parent feel secure, the teachers feel secure, the students feel secure so they can focus on what they do, which is education,” Oberhofer said. “I want to be part of making this school a place where parents want to bring their children. I want to help support that, a place where parents want to bring their children and I want to help support Ravalli County being a place where people want to live.”
Oberhofer is a UM grad that says while he’s in Ravalli County he would like to take advantage of all the outdoor activities the mountains have to offer and spend more time with his family.