department awarded grant
Cottonwood Police Department has, for a second year, received funding through the Department of Juvenile Corrections, Federal Department of Juvenile Justice in the form of a grant called Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws.
The grant is for $7,500 and pays for one part time officer, Officer Jason Rambo. If you recall last year there was an article done on our attempts to not only enforce underage drinking laws, but to also work on changing the attitudes toward underage drinking among our youth.
Officer Rambo has been working in the Prairie schools 1-2 days a week since the 2010-2011 school year started. He has been teaching classes to all grades on subjects such as bullying, alcohol and drug use, tobacco, good decision making and team building. Our thought is that if we can help the kids, focusing on the Middle School age kids, make good choices, recognize inappropriate behaviors, and learn how to get along with others there won’t be quite the temptation to turn to alcohol or drugs.
There are numerous other benefits of having Officer Rambo working in the schools with the kids as well as teaching these classes. He has helped with EMS calls at the school and has attended Active Shooter type of training. Unfortunately in this day and age an incident of violence is something that even small town schools need to prepare for, and I feel that having Officer Rambo working in the school, being armed and trained on procedures, is a great deterrent to having an incident in our school. Statistics show there has NEVER been an incident of violence in a school that has an armed officer in the school. Another benefit, and this one is huge, is that Officer Rambo is a very positive influence with our youth. From his interaction with the youth we have begun to build trust with the youth that goes far beyond simple enforcement of the laws. There is a trust being built where they know that if they need help, we will be there. If they need someone to talk to, we’ll listen. If they are in trouble we will assist them. Just a few years ago that was always assumed, if you needed something you could turn to a Police Officer and he would help. I’d like to say that all the local officers still have that feeling, they will help, but somewhere along the line the major media, as well as a few bad apples in the barrel, have made it so we had to reestablish this fact in the minds of our youth.
OK, now to the enforcement part. You can tell by the name of the grant that we will be enforcing underage drinking laws. As such, the other part of the grant is “Party Patrols”. Officer Rambo will be doing routine patrols, supported through Memorandums of Understanding with Idaho County Sheriff and the Bureau of Land Management, to all the known party spots. He will be checking for signs of juvenile parties and upon finding parties will deal with each situation as needed. I hate to tell everyone this, but the days of “pour it out and go home” are over. Society and the laws of today prevent us from doing that so quickly. If a party is located there will be citations issued, summons given, and court will be the outcome. Times have changed; parties have gotten out of control. These are not what the parents’ recall of a bonfire party with a couple cases of beer. These are parties with 12 plus cases, gallons of hard alcohol, and may even include pills or other illegal substances and our kids have been dying on the roads due to alcohol related incidents. I am sure none of us want to see that happen to our kids.
So, there you have it. We have Officer Rambo around for another year, he is a very positive influence whom the kids like and trust and he works very well in the schools and he will be out looking for parties.