By Starrla Cray
DASSEL, COKATO, MN When school started in September, one new person in the hallways at Dassel-Cokato High School was Deputy Eric Dahlheimer.
Dahlheimer is the new school resource officer (SRO), taking over for Deputy Lisa Fox.
“I expressed interest in the school resource officer position after working patrol and seeing the potential for having an impact on young people’s lives in a positive way,” Dahlheimer noted.
Dahlheimer graduated from Monticello High School in 2000, and enlisted in the US Army shortly after, where he served in the 82nd Airborne Division.
Initially, Dahlheimer had planned to pursue a criminal justice degree. But after doing a police ride-along, he immediately changed to a law enforcement degree.
Dahlheimer has been with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office since 2015, working as a patrol deputy primarily in the Cokato area.
“I really enjoy working patrol, but when the opportunity came to be an SRO, I jumped at the chance,” he said.
After Dahlheimer was selected for the position, he attended training specifically related to issues in the school system.
“Some examples of things an SRO may deal with are things like threats or harassment (both in person and via social media), drugs or drug paraphernalia, conflicts between students both verbal and physical, [and] conflicts that occur at home involving students and family members,” he noted.
For Dahlheimer, a typical day is spent talking with students and answering questions, either related to law enforcement or other topics. He also prepares and delivers presentations about law enforcement issues.
“I think a big part of working patrol and being an SRO is educating people about being safe and the laws,” Dahlheimer noted. “Being on patrol, there is not a lot of time to get to know someone on a traffic stop or talking to someone briefly on the side of the road. I feel being an SRO will give me the opportunity to be able to get to know the students, and the students will have a chance to get to know me. I believe I will be able to have a positive impact and be able to help students navigate school in a positive way.”
One of the challenges of Dahlheimer’s job is to teach students about the dangers of social media. He said that although there are many benefits to social media, it’s also important to know the risks.
Dahlheimer’s office is in the high school, but he is also assigned to the elementary and middle school if any issues arise.
“The elementary students are very fun and always full of questions,” he noted. “I enjoy being able to work with all age groups.”