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Kids versus cops

by Amanda Roberson

FARMER’S KORNER – Kids and cops literally butted heads at Summit High School Tuesday.

The skirmish, however, occurred in a spirited and windy game of speedball in which Summit County sheriff’s officers teamed up with firefighters from the Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District and Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue to take on members of Summit High’s senior class and the leadership class.

The odds were in the students’ favor early on – the officers were outnumbered on the field almost two-to-one.

Summit senior Vanessa St. John, who was cheering on her classmates from the sidelines, noted the officers were “using their take-down techniques.”

“They’re aggressive,” she said, “but we still outnumber them.”

Red, White and Blue Lt. T.J. Johnson, meanwhile, tried to wax philosophic about the 15-7 drubbing received at the hands – and heads and feet – of the teen-agers.

“They have youth and agility over us, but this is really just an opportunity to hang out with the kids,” he said.

The spring speedball game has become a Summit High tradition. This is the fifth year kids have taken on cops in the sport, which is something like soccer. Players score one point for throwing the ball into the goal, two points for kicking it in, and three points for head-butting it in the goal.

“The best thing about this is it lets the kids see the officers in a different type of setting,” said swim coach and campus supervisor Graig Fischer. “I think it gives them a lot more respect.”

Both Summit High and Summit Middle schools have a full-time school research officer who acts as liaison between the students and law enforcement. The officers deal with any criminal matters that arise and conduct law-related education, such as the DARE drug prevention course.

“In my job, I play a lot of roles. I’m a partial parent, partial police officer, and partial teacher,” said Summit Middle School resource officer Rebecca Johnson, who played goalie.

Both Johnson and Summit High School resource officer Ron Hanavan have first-hand insight into the school system. They’re alumni of Summit High.

The school resource officer program began six years ago, and has been growing ever since, according to Summit County Sheriff Joe Morales.

“The county was expanding and we were getting so many new students so quickly. We didn’t want to lose kids to gangs and other problems,” said Morales. “The idea is to police the school as a town in itself. The resource officers are here for security, but also to act as teachers and role models. It’s been very successful.”

“This gives students an outlet to contact law enforcement on an individual basis. The kids can talk to them about things they wouldn’t want to talk to a cop on the street about,” said Captain Derek Woodman.

To celebrate their victory, students, alongside teachers and officers, enjoyed a barbecue lunch provided by Keystone Resort.

“It was a lot of fun, and now we don’t have to wash cop cars,” said sophomore member of the leadership class Kelly Kastberg. Students had agreed to wash patrol cars if they lost.

The officers held up their end of the bet, firing up the barbecue and serving students lunch.


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