Douglas County school resource officer honored for regional excellence

Shefali Phillips-Arains is proud to serve at Highlands Ranch High School

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Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Shefali Phillips-Arain was recognized for regional excellence by the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) during the annual awards banquet.

Phillips-Arain, a school resource officer (SRO) for Highlands Ranch High School, received an award for Regional Excellence for Region 10, which includes Colorado Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

The annual award recognizes SROs who have made specific and significant contributions to their local communities and school districts. The award was presented to Phillips-Arain on July 13 during the National School Safety Conference in Orlando, Florida.

While honored to receive the recognition, Phillips-Arains said it is the work that she loves, stressing that given today’s society, SROs play an important role.

“I believe SROs are some of the most important pieces of law enforcement today,” she said. “The counseling, friendships and relationships we build with these students cannot be duplicated. We are not teachers. We are not counselors. We are just there to make a positive impact on kids.”

Phillips-Arains, a 20-year law enforcement professional, has worked throughout the region with stints in Denver, Boulder, Glendale and the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Phillips-Arains, a resident of Jefferson County, said she came to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office specifically because of the SRO program.

“This program takes that service to the next level,” she said. “I can’t say enough good things about the administrators, and the teachers at Highlands Ranch High School. They are phenomenal. The community here supports our SRO teams, and our command staff works hard, which sometimes goes unnoticed.”

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said the SRO program has worked with local school districts and Douglas County commissioners to build the important service for youth and teens.

“This is just another example of excellent work and dedication coming from our school resource officer program,” he said. “We are very proud of Deputy Phillips-Arian for her commitment and caring attitude towards her school students.”

In a year where SROs have been the target of a lot of negativity, Phillips-Arains said Douglas County is the opposite, with administrators, parents and students being supportive.

Phillips-Arains said it is important to note that SROs are not all about presenting everything with rose-colored glasses. Instead, she said they are all about leveling with and being honest with students.

Phillips-Arains said SROs want to talk about their jobs, they want to discuss national issues such as Black Lives Matter, they want to continue building trusting relationships with students.

“Our job is to help prepare them for adulthood,” she said. “The work our SROs do with these students is always phenomenal.”

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