“Strait” and narrow

Cops who care  Opinion by Jenna Neely

Jenna Neely

Chief of Police Luke Fedler said: “One day you’ll either need them or be them,” in regards to law enforcement. Some like to make our cops out to be the bad guys, yet they play such an important role in our lives. What law enforcement officers do for our community isn’t just hard, it’s about one of the most difficult things that someone can do. 

Our police deal with so much drama, drugs, and delinquency, it’s disheartening. Colorado is ranked fourth for the most active shootings in America. Crime is rising here in Colorado, even here in our lovely town of Delta. Sadly, it’s also rising in a place of growth and education: Our schools.

Our police are doing everything they can mitigate the spread. The Delta Police Department puts $100,000 a year towards a School Resource Officer program which directly benefits the students in Delta. Officer David Strait is Delta’s SRO. It is his job to assist with juvenile issues and mentor those who need it. Schools are places full of drugs, alcohol, and emotions, but most importantly, students’ lives. Officer Strait is here for it and he is here for you.

While some of the biggest issues in our schools are drug related, the issues that are less spoken about are those at our fingertips. “The second big thing that’s a nuisance is social media,” said Strait. Sending illicit photos to your crush of the week is obviously not a good idea, yet so many feel the need to do it. Serious sexting is considered child pornography, and it is prohibited. Repercussions can include fines and even jail time for repeated offenses. Photos that are meant for your friend may wind up in the hands of the police, and that’s the last thing they want to deal with. Please save yourself some trouble and have respect for yourself and others.

The next generation is a top priority for Officer Strait. His motive isn’t to bust you, it’s to help you. Struggling with drugs? Word of a fight? Received an inappropriate text? Whatever the struggle, Officer Strait is your guy. 

The SRO program has been around for a while and became more widely known in the ‘90s, though it went by different names. The program went away for several years, but in Chief Fedler’s application for Chief of Police, he requested a letter of support from one of our schools to reintroduce the SRO program to the Delta County school system. 

Officer Strait has been in law enforcement since 2000. Having been a Patrol Sergeant before being an SRO, Chief Fedler praised Strait.: “When he was a patrol sergeant over there, he was probably one of the best patrol sergeants I’ve ever seen,” Fedler said. Since 2020, Officer Strait has been the City of Delta’s SRO, and we have been extremely lucky to have him in our schools.

“Can’t get them all to make a straight road, but you can try,” said Strait. He’d say that the best part of the job would be building relationships with the students. Officer Strait sees the patterns; he knows what’s up.

What can we do to support our law enforcement officers and our SRO? First, support your peers. “You guys need to be there for one another,” said  Strait. If you see a friend struggling, help them out. Get them to talk to our SRO, to somebody.

Officer Strait is working hard to make the connection with Delta’s students. Another thing that we could do is not look at them so negatively. “[Maybe] not looking at us like we’re the bad guy,” said Strait. “We’re actually there to help.”

Students have so many resources available to them. Don’t waste these opportunities. Don’t do anything that you’ll regret. “Be nice to your local law enforcement,” requested Chief Fedler. “I was a terrible individual when I was in high school and I hated the cops, yet here I am.” 

Always remember: You are never alone, and you are never better off alone. Next time you see Officer Strait, give him a high-five. Talk to him for a minute. Students are Delta’s most valuable resource. Delta is lucky to have good people who fight for our students. So let’s make good choices. Don’t be crazy. Walk the “Strait“ and narrow path.

Police Chief Fedler, Jenna Neely, Officer David Strait, and below is our police dog, Raico. Interview in Chief Fedlers office about Delta’s SRO Program.