Written by: Alyssa Layborne
It is not unheard of for the Smithville Police Department to be seen patrolling the city regularly. Buy one thing people never expected was for officers to regularly surround school zones during the entering and exiting hours of Smithville campuses.
This situation, occurring more and more frequently, has left Smithville students, parents, and staff at the mercy of Smithville PD officers patrolling Commercial Avenue. Students report having been individually targeted, followed and even blocked in the high school parking lot, with as many as five separate patrol cars loitering on school grounds at any given time.
“Patrol Officers have several areas for targeted traffic enforcement throughout the city where there are high rates of speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors,” said Officer Claire Prindable, district school resource officer. “This increased presence and resulting enforcement helps to bring down the numbers of dangerous incidents.”
Although cops have full rights and abilities to pull people over, baring they have reasonable intent or suspicion, blocking students and staff into their parking spots or waiting for them to leave the school parking lot is utterly frustrating, to say the least, for all drivers on campus.
“I believe having two resource officers is more than enough, and we really do not need others patrolling the parking lot so often,” said Kylee Caldwell, sophomore.
Many students report feeling violated with this style of police entrapment, as constant police presence is threatening to the sanctity of a school environment.
“It makes me nervous, because I always feel like I’m doing something wrong even though I never am,” said Zoe Ball, sophomore. “I’m a new driver, and all of this is really intimidating, especially when all I’m trying to do is just get to school safely.”
Students and staff, with increased police presence, feel as though have to constantly drive in constant fear of being pulled over by an officer, and risking being late to school or work. The unreasonable and unnecessary stops have lead to a student body-wide distrust for the resource officers, which is the opposite image that these officers hope to have with their presence.
“Our main goal each and every day is to help ensure that people are safe,” said officer Prindable. “We have to accomplish this in a variety of ways, but the main one within a school zone is to ensure that drivers are following the posted speed limit, even if that means patrolling.”