Pawhuska Police Chief Nick Silva and his department are busily preparing for the beginning of school Aug. 22. The department will have a second school resource officer available this year, and Silva is also excited that the school system now has hand-held, two-way radios it will be able to use to communicate with law enforcement directly from school sites.


“That is a big deal to us,” Silva said regarding the hand-held radios. The Pawhuska Police Department is planning to have a highly visible presence in the community as soon as school starts, he said. School district personnel will be staffing crosswalks, so that police officers will be freed up to run radar in school zones, he said.


Also, police will on a random basis follow school buses on their routes to see if motorists are displaying the appropriate level of caution around the buses, Silva said.


With regard to School Resource Officer training, Silva said Officer Zach West has now undergone the training and will be available to provide assistance to the local schools. Officer Lorrie Hennesy remains the department’s primary school resource officer, he said. Silva added that he, too, plans to take school resource officer training.


Another step the Pawhuska Police Department will soon be taking is the establishment of a departmental website, Silva said. The department already interacts with the public via a Facebook page, but Silva clarified this will be a brand-new website that will allow motorists who have been involved in traffic accidents to obtain copies of their accident reports online; provide information about registered sex offenders and that will allow citizens to provide Crime Stoppers tips to be followed up on by officers.


The Pawhuska Police Department has 10 officers now, and Silva is interested in providing additional equipment and training for them. An application is being prepared to seek grant funds to buy items such as helmets and ballistic vests, he said.


Silva also hopes to provide special operations training next spring to all Pawhuska Police Department officers who have not already received such instruction. Silva explained that he and several other officers — Sgt. Daniel Alden and officers Sam Soutter and Zach West — have already received special operations training.


“Our department has the building blocks for a special operations team,” Silva said.