WEST HAVEN -- Police officers are stopping at Quest Academy on a regular basis, and everyone is happy about it.
After the Newtown, Conn., school shootings in December, Quest's principal, Lani Rounds, was wracking her brain trying to figure out a way to have a bigger police presence in her charter school, when an idea came to her -- invite them in.
So she did just that. On the last day of school before Christmas break, she sent out letters to local police departments and the Weber County Sheriff's Office, inviting officers to the school's "Cop Stop."
The Cop Stop is a treat and refreshment station in the offices of the school's two buildings.
"We are way far out west. Even having a cop car in the parking lot could be a deterrent," Rounds said.
The results have been more than she could have hoped for. The school is in the jurisdiction of the Weber County Sheriff's Office, but there have also been visits from Roy and even Ogden officers whose children attend the school.
The officers "stop and talk to kids in the hall," Rounds said.
Some teachers, if they can take a break from schoolwork, come down to the office and give a cheer to the officers. The office staff in both buildings love getting to know the law enforcement officers.
"It has been a lot of fun," Rounds said.
The school is divided into two campuses, grades K-4 and grades 5-9, with about 900 students between the two buildings.
And although it has been fun, the presence of the officers has increased the feeling of safety within the school. When the officers visit, Rounds and the office staff invite them to tour the school and get to know the physical layout and what is happening in the facility.
Rounds also loves having the police cars in the parking lot. Weber County deputies often come to visit in twos, but bring more than one car, which she said is great.
The randomness has also been a perk. The police are invited to come in anytime during the school day, so if someone were to approach the school to commit a crime, they wouldn't know if an officer is in the building.
Some of the officers only stay for a minute, some stay longer. She likes her students to see them working and see how quickly they respond when a call comes in.
The school has a detailed safety plan, but she, like all other school administrators, felt things needed to be stepped up and reviewed in light of recent events.
"We went through all the policies and increased our safety measures," Rounds said.
Some things can be pricey, she said -- like having a resource officer in the school at all times -- so this seems like a win-win.