Honoring Our School Resource Officers for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
In honor of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, we’re spotlighting both of our wonderful school resource officers: Trisha Worley and Josh Allison.
By Jesse Baalman
Garfield Re-2 Communication Specialist
National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is a great time to shine the light on people who make an impact in the lives of our students each and every day. Not only are we appreciative of the entire police force in our community, but we’re especially grateful for two of our own school resource officers: Trisha Worley and Josh Allison. Let’s take some time to acknowledge them and all the support they provide to schools across our district.
Getting a foot in the door
Trisha Worley, school resource officer out of Coal Ridge High School, got her start in law enforcement in 2010. “It was kind of a fluke, actually,” says Worley. “I was a domestic violence victim myself, and the police on the front range that came and handled my case were horrible. Worley thought to herself that no one should ever have to have the treatment that she received as a victim. When she came home to the Western Slope after her time in the military, she started working at the Sheriff’s office before moving out onto the road.
After several years in her position as school resource officer, Worley says it’s the perfect fit for her. “Before applying, I just kind of did some research knowing that I like working with kids,” says Worley. “I always wanted to be a teacher and it’s just kind of the best of both worlds. So, it's been wonderful.”
Worley says the students have restored her faith in humanity and made her realize that there are good people in this world. She says the students she works with are fun, bright and full of life and hope.
School resource officer duties
While school resource officers are first and foremost enforcers of the law, they also take on a mentoring role and a teaching role, too. “We get to educate kids, not just on what we do, but also on life skills,” says Worley. “We are mentors who pop into classes from time to time and we are coaches of various different sports.”
Worley runs the rodeo club at CRHS and has upwards of 10 students she is in contact with on a regular basis through that program. She helps administrators, teachers and counseling staff with a wide variety of issues including mental health, family issues and, of course, the law.
“The first thing most people think about a position like mine is that we’re here to stop bad things from happening,” says Worley. “That’s true, but we’re also here to help educate, be a resource for people and to break down those barriers to show people that we love our communities that we serve. We just want people to know that we're here to help.”
Allison says that the hours are nice because his wife is a teacher and they get to spend more time together. “The school district has its own subculture,” says Allison. “It’s awesome to be part of it while still working as a police officer. I have enjoyed the camaraderie among the administrators and staff.”
Memorable experiences on the job
Worley says she wouldn’t even know where to start when thinking about memorable experiences on the job. From daily hugs she receives from students to watching them graduate, she says the job can be both heartbreaking and heartwarming. “We just did shop with a cop over Christmas, and I was so happy to see about 13 or 14 Coal Ridge kids plus a couple from Rifle who showed up,” says Worley. “Knowing the kids well enough to do that with them and knowing that it’s all because of the relationships we’ve built over time is very special to me.”
Officer Allison says that being able to connect with students and staff beyond the brief interactions he had as a patrol officer is the most rewarding part of being a school resource officer. “The elementary students are always happy to see me and it brightens my day,” says Allison.
“I also invited the Marine Corps recruiter to the high school to set up a table,” says Allison. “I was happy to assist him in recruiting students as I was working as a police officer. My time as a Marine and my time so far as a police officer have been very rewarding. It was cool to merge the two for about an hour.”
National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is Sunday, January 9th. Thank a law enforcement officer in your life!