Mike Monson enjoying role as RASD SRO
For Mike Monson, being a police officer was not on his radar when he graduated from high school. He never imagined his career would have taken him back into the school setting either.
Now Monson, a Redwood Falls Police Department officer, is doing both as a school resource officer (SRO) for RASD.
Monson is taking over the role following the retirement of Dana Woodford who served as the local school district's resource officer from the start of the program at RASD.
Monson helped fill in at the school one year ago and then took on the position at the start of the 2020-21 year.
Monson is no stranger to the community, as he has been an officer with the local police department for nearly 10 years. He has been involved in law enforcement since 2004.
Prior to pursuing his career in law enforcement, Monson said he was managing a YMCA, and it was during that time where he had a number of interactions with law enforcement officers that helped to convince him that moving in that direction was something he wanted to do.
“The more I worked with them, the more I gravitated toward it,” said Monson.
Monson, whose wife is originally from the area, and his family moved to the community, and he started looking for a job. He applied fora part-time position with the local department that turned into a full-time officer role.
Monson said he was asked if he had any interest in the SRO role.
“Last year I really enjoyed it,” he said, adding he appreciated having the interaction with the students.
Monson said starting out was easier simply because he knew many of the kids and they knew him, too.
Monson spends time at the Reede Gray and Redwood Valley schools sites interacting with the students.
“I just want them to know I’m approachable,” he said.
In addition to walking the halls, Monson also does some education. He recently offered some pedestrian safety training for students, and the public will see him during school events.
Monson said the students, especially those in the younger grades, express excitement when they see him.
The SRO program is funded by the school district, and when Monson is not on duty at the school he also fills his role as an officer for the RFPD.
In his role as SRO, Monson also helps to coordinate the ALICE training program, which is used to ensure students and staff are safe in school.
In the midst of the pandemic, Monson said there have been some challenges, as the wearing of masks has meant he is not able to see the faces of the students and the staff.
That, he said, makes it harder to get to know them and establish the kind of relationship he knows will be important as he establishes trust with them.
Monson is glad to be in his new role and looks forward to helping however he can.