COOS BAY – The Coos Bay School District has a new resource officer.
Coos Bay Police Officer Bryan Looney may have worked patrol for seven years and been on the local SWAT team, but now he is going back to school. Serving as the School Resource Officer (SRO) is usually a three-to-six-year assignment, depending on staffing levels. For Officer Looney, he sees it as a chance to be a positive influence in student lives.
“I'm looking forward to working with the kids, especially kids who are hesitant with law enforcement, who don't see us as people of the community just doing a job,” Looney said.
With him will be his canine, a spaniel that is trained to detect meth, cocaine and heroin, known as a “three-odor dog.”
“Hopefully there are none of those at the school,” Looney said. “Usually when there are drug problems at school, it is generally marijuana. We do still have a marijuana dog on the force, so if needed I could use him.”
Looney's duties as SRO will be to patrol the campus before school, during lunch and after school. Not only will he be seen at Marshfield High School, but at both middle and elementary schools.
“I'm responsible for the entire district,” he said. “Though I will mainly be at Marshfield.”
He is also responsible for handling all district complaints, such as fights and thefts. After speaking with former SROs, he was told to expect a lot of phone thefts and cyber bullying, which he plans on dealing with on a case-by-case basis.
“This is a drastically different job there at the school than what I'm used to,” he said.
Perhaps one aspect of his new duties will be more familiar through the annual ALICE training, which prepares students and teachers in case of an active shooter event. Instead of the usual lockdown training school districts taught to students, ALICE teaches how to fight back.
“When you drill into people to lock down, they will forever be in that lockdown mode the rest of their life,” Looney said. “Turbulent incidences are terrible to watch and I've seen videos for this training where a gunman goes through a door and is shooting colleagues and people freeze. This training provides an option. The fight back part of ALICE is the last ditch scenario, because it doesn't encourage you to go out looking for the bad guy. But instead, if the bad guy breaches, then the highest chance of survivability is fighting back.”
Looney also hopes to work with clubs since he has always had an interest in leadership, as well as journalism. In fact, he was the editor of the school newspaper back when he attended Marshfield High School 10 years ago.
“My biggest goals are to work with the kids,” he said. “I'm excited to mingle and get to know them and have a positive influence.”