Since the spring of 2008, Deputy Dutton has been a familiar face in the Deer Park area, working patrol duties for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. Recently the deputy transitioned within the Sheriff’s office, and became the main resource officer for the Deer Park School District. Many of his day to day duties remain the same; now, however, he has additional responsibilities for the immediate safety of children within the school, and his main office will now be located at Deer Park High School.
Over the past 14 years, through his patrols Deputy Dutton has worked with many in the community, including the kids that he now works with on a day to day basis. During that time he has formed working relationships with local businesses, local rescue workers, and many residents, creating what he refers to as a personal vested interest in our community. His main goal as the resource officer is to help ensure that everyone is safe and everyone succeeds. Even if a student has made a poor choice there is still a chance for success: “Often we cannot turn the clock back, but we can help them move forward.” These goals are achieved through partnerships with the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, CPS, APS, the school district, and the courts.
When asked what he would say if given the opportunity to speak with a group of Deer Park parents, his message was clear: “Be aware, be involved and be in-tuned!” This is especially important in today’s technology driven world. Know what content your children are accessing online and make sure that they are staying safe. He stressed that apps like snapchat and instagram should not be utilized by youths, as they have the potential for trouble and can place kids in unsafe situations. In fact, the recent scare at Deer Park high school began on snapchat and spread through social media like a game of telephone, with the details getting altered along the way. Deputy Dutton urges parents to rely on the school and the sheriff’s office for details of such events, and to avoid social media where information may not be verified nor as accurate. Student safety is their number one priority, and they will always act with student’s best interests in mind. As a school resource officer, Deputy Dutton is constantly running through all possible scenarios and making plans to keep everyone safe. One concern that is on his mind is, if a tragic event did occur at one of the schools, how could he ensure that the proper rescue resources arrived on scene before the roads were blocked, as occurred in the case of Freeman High School. As news spread to the Freeman community, concerned parents flocked to the school, blocking the highway and slowing rescue response. Deputy Dutton urges parents to check with the district office and/or Sheriff’s office for instructions instead of heading directly to the schools. Doing so will ensure that trained rescue agents can take the necessary actions vital for student safety and a quick resolve to any situation that arises.
Even with these concerns in mind the deputy says that things are going relatively well. He has recently felt a renewed faith in parents especially within our community, noting that parents are really stepping up and getting involved in their children’s lives, which is key to making sure that students are safe and have the best chance for success in life.