Besides the Annandale Police Department, other agencies such as; Wright County Sheriffs Office, Wright County Public Health Department, Allina Health Systems, and area school districts joined together on this project. The first year consisted of research and data collection to determine the concerns that the group should concentrate on. It was decided that the two areas of concern for Eastern Wright County would be the 55 mph speed zones and the young, inexperienced drivers. Two separate teams were created to develop ideas on how to address these concerns.
The strategy plan was to focus on interventions that included education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical management. The teams felt that education was an area that they could do a lot with. Public Service Announcement were aired on radio stations and seen on billboards. Signs giving messages such as "Concentrate on driving - Crashes are not accidents" were purchased and placed in strategic locations. Flyers, buttons, and window clings were distributed. The Youth Team created a handbook and a presentation for parents and their teenager enrolled in the drivers education program at the local schools. Two school districts Buffalo and St. Michael immediately made the presentation mandatory for their students enrolled in drivers education. Positive reinforcement, such as coupons for gas from local merchants has been given to students that "are caught" wearing their seat belts.
After the original funding ran out, all the members involved felt the program should continue and additional funding was found through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. This program has become a lead model for other communities in Minnesota. In the year 2000, Safe Communities of Wright County expanded to include Monticello and Annandale.
Safe Communities of Wright County (SCWC) is a non-profit collaborative that has just celebrated its 11th Anniversary. SCWC was formed in 1997 as a collaborative effort focused on reducing crashes in Wright County, Minnesota, through safety education and prevention. Annandale Police Department has partnered with Safe Communities of Wright County since its conception. Officer Engfer has been an active member of Safe Communities and is a presenter in their Driver's Education Parent-Teen Presentations.
Parents are a huge influence on their child?s driving habits. Of young drivers that received speeding tickets, 73% of their parents had previously received a speeding ticket. For every speeding ticket a parent gets, their child?s chances of getting a speeding ticket increases by 13% (Fox 9 News.) In the last ten years Safe Communities of Wright County has been helpful in reducing the number of fatal and severe injury crashes in Wright County by 38%, despite the county population increase of over 30% in that same time period.
Safe Communities not only provides educational courses to young drivers and parents, but also to citizen?s who receive minor traffic violations, through their Drive Wright Classes. The spring of every year Safe Communities sponsors a "Buckle Up" Challenge, which Annandale Schools participate in. Annandale High School has won this countywide competition in the past.
Buckle up and drive safe, as your life depends on it.
Nearly 20 years ago, Wright County Court Services Director Mike MacMillan and Buffalo High School Principal Nick Miller partnered to communicate about the well being of the students in the Buffalo School District. As the years passed, their initial partnership grew into a group that now includes multiple County, State, and City Representatives, including the Annandale Police Department.
Now known as the Safe Schools Committee, approximately 30 members meet once a month to discuss safety issues that involve students in District 876. Everything from attendance, to how many students in the district are on probation, to traffic flow, to bus rules.
Since its creation, the committee has had some significant accomplishments including; discussion of learning options for high school students, a student pledge against gun violence, door greeters at the high school, development of a crisis plan, and the addition of a family resource worker and a school resource officer.
Today, Safe Schools continues to be an integral part of the communication and planning process concerning safety decisions regarding the students in District 876. The Annandale Police Department is proud to be a part of that process.
School Resource Officer (SRO)
School Resource Officers (S.R.O.) or Liaison Officers have been around since the late 1950's. Appearing first in Flint, Michigan. By the 1970's, S.R.O.'s were recognized nationally and could be found in states such as, Arizona, California, and Florida.
S.R.O.'s are based on a triad concept. At the top you would find a law enforcement officer. First and foremost the officer in the school is a police officer and it is their duty to assist with the prevention and investigation of criminal activity that occurs on or near school campus. The bottom two corners of this concept are made up of a teacher and a counselor. The teacher role is someone that goes into a classroom or speaks with students, staff, or parents on an individual basis. Topics could be about drugs, criminal activity, laws, or legal questions. The counselor part of the position allows the officer to be a resource to the school community.
You may be asking yourself, "Do we need a School Resource Officer in the Annandale Schools?" The answer may be in how you view a police officer or more specifically an SRO. The Annandale Schools are safe, and that is one reason we have an SRO, to help maintain a safe school. But also keep in mind besides the safety factor; there are other reasons for an SRO to be in a school. As a resource and an educator as mentioned before. SRO's are another person to assist in the development of our young people. It is important to remember that an SRO can be a preventative tool not only benefits the school, but also the community as a whole.
The Annandale School District contracts with the police department for an officer to work in the schools for twenty hours per week.
Any questions regarding our school resource program in the Annandale School District, please contact Sgt Peter Standafer or Chief Herr at 320-274-3278.