New School Resource Officer’s Positive Impact
By Ty Walker
In order to become a school resource officer, Sandy Police Officer Hala Ling took a weeklong special training seminar at the Oregon Coast. But he said being a father and coaching youth sports have been the best training he’s had to prepare him for his new job working with youth.
Ling is a four-year veteran Sandy police officer, but a rookie when it comes to being a school resource officer. He began his first year this fall in the Oregon Trail School District. He is one of two SROs assigned to the 11-school district.
“Honestly, the best training that I’ve received to be an SRO and work with kids is being a dad and coaching youth sports. That is honestly the best thing that prepared me for dealing with kids.”
Ling moved from Portland to Sandy with his wife and three young children about 5 ½ years ago. They now have two boys, ages 10 and 8, and a 5-year-old girl. Coaching their youth baseball and football teams has helped him as an SRO.
Ling became a police officer to get involved in the community and make a positive impact. He especially enjoys getting to know the younger children, whether that’s taking time to play with them at recess or eating lunch with them.
“Sandy is a pretty awesome place and I wanted to be involved enough in the community to have an impact and I think the local police department is one of the best chances to do that,” Ling said.
The SRO office is based at Sandy High School but officers make the rounds to all the schools in the Oregon Trail School District. They go from school to school trying to create positive law enforcement interactions with students.
“That’s what we try to do when we’re not working on reports of different crimes,” Ling said.
He said issues he deals with at Sandy High “are the same you’d see at any school district, I feel. Kids not being nice to each other and taking it to the extreme. Kids are recording or taking photos of things they shouldn’t and distributing them.”
Ling said he sees some fighting at Sandy High, “but we have a fairly good presence at the school so we’re not seeing too much. Fights don’t last too long.”
He said he’s dealt with weapons at the school but hasn’t seen any real guns on campus, just a lot of students making threats. Sandy school resource officers are armed and carry a standard police issue Glock pistol.
“Any positive interactions we have with the kids now are going to help us in the future,” Ling said.
When he’s off duty, Ling loves both playing and coaching sports. He said he’s very competitive and won’t let his kids win.
“What would I be teaching my kids if I just let them win?” he said.
Ling was born in Hawaii and grew up in Olympia, Wash. He worked as an accountant in downtown Portland for five years before becoming a police officer.
“Police work is very team oriented,” Ling said. “We have to rely on our fellow officers for a lot of things.
“I just want to be a great teammate, impact my community in a positive way and go home to my family every night.”