PCPD officer goes back to school
There is a new face roaming the halls of Park City schools, and it belongs to a man in blue. Ed Clouse, a member of the Park City Police Department (PCPD) for the past 11 years, has been selected to serve as the full-time resource officer for the schools within PCPD’s jurisdiction — Park City High School, Treasure Mountain International School, McPolin Elementary and the Learning Center.
Clouse has served as the off-campus truancy officer for the Park City School District for the past three years, but this is the first year that an officer has moved into the buildings full-time. Clouse emphasizes that issues in the schools have not mandated the presence of a full-time officer; the program was simply instituted to ensure the safety of the students and substantiate a positive environment that is conducive to learning.
Clouse, who was chosen for the job by a panel of law enforcement and school district representatives, started work in the schools on Jan. 5. He splits his time between the four schools, but his main office is located in the high school. His primary duties include dealing with safe-school violations, truancy, and teaching/counseling kids. There are also the more unpleasant parts of the job, such as drug interventions, but Clouse notes that he doesn’t see a major problem with drugs in Park City schools.
Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter, who has served as a school resource officer himself, is a strong believer in the program and how it benefits the community. "I personally know the value of creating relationships with young people," he says. "When they do have a problem, they know who to go to for help." Government funding for officers in schools dried up years ago, Carpenter explains, but the police department and the Park City Board of Education recently decided it was a priority to have the presence of an officer in the schools. "It helps to be aware of what’s going on day-to-day," Carpenter says.
The central goals of the program are to meet the needs of students, strengthen the relationship between the police department and the schools, and introduce new learning opportunities. Clouse hopes to expand educational programs beyond D.A.R.E., which he is currently teaching to kindergarten through fifth-grade classes at McPolin. One idea is collaboration with classes such as criminology.
Besides being a comfort to parents and students, there are several advantages to having an officer in the schools full-time. "I’ll be able to get to know the ongoing issues, familiarize myself with what’s going on and be part of a team to create resolutions," Clouse says. Depending on the situation, he will work closely with the administrators, which he praises as some of the best in the country. He may also contact parents as needed concerning their child’s actions.
When students catch a glimpse of the new fixture in their building, they visibly perk up and stop to consider whether they’re following the rules. But Clouse stresses that he’s not present in a watchdog capacity. "I’m here to address the issues that need to be addressed by law enforcement," he says. He says that he really enjoys working with kids, and he wants to make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved. "We’re creating Park City’s future through our kids," he says. "This is a great opportunity to make a bond between the police, the schools and the community."
Jennifer McDonald, a self-described lifelong Republican, was selected as the Summit County Republican Party chair last week.