His mother was a Mora school teacher; his father was once the county sheriff. Now, deputy Dan Schulz will be serving as the poetic in-between: the new local school resource officer. 

School resource officers are part of a community-oriented policing strategy that focuses on building relationships within communities that prevents crime. One aspect of this is to connect with kids who may have had negative past experiences with law enforcement officers. 

Schulz will begin serving local schools this month as their new officer. The position was formerly held by deputy Justin Strom, who is now serving in a different position with the sheriff’s office. 

Schulz earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Minnesota State University Moorhead; he completed law enforcement education at Alexandria Technical and Community College. He got a job with the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office and has been serving the county for the past 14 years. 

Through his work and the experience of raising his own 8-year-old son, Schultz said he saw how important it was to reach young people and show them how to break the cycle of harmful behaviors. 

“It became evident to me, that the youth really is the future,” he said. 

“I got into law enforcement to help the community that supported my family,” said Schulz. “I can’t think of a better way to serve the community than to get into the school and provide a positive influence.”

The school resource officer divides their time between Mora and Ogilvie schools, teaching classes about responsible decision making, showing up to football games, visiting with kids during lunch and overall trying to be a good role model with a listening ear. 

Schulz said that on the surface, people tend to focus on the law enforcement uniform, and not the person in it. Part of his work in schools is to humanize police, build rapport and trust. Schulz hopes he can connect with kids over potential shared interests like video games (Schulz likes to play Halo Infinite and Rocket League), hunting and movies. 

Overall, Schulz said that his hopes for himself, the students and their families is to try to be better every day.

“I have faith the community can, and will, become better.”

Program saved by American Rescue Plan

Budget issues initially cut the school resource officer position in summer, until the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office found a new, temporary way to fund the wages and benefits for a full-time school resource officer: The American Rescue Plan—Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

The American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11 was intended to speed recovery from the effects of the pandemic. Among other things, the ARP designates $350 billion for state and local governments to replace lost revenue and strengthen support for vital public services.

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