What It Takes Now, vs. What It Took Then for Deputy Dave


Photo Credits: Emilya Barwick

Dave Bruening, SRO officer at Dakota, meeting with another security member outside of Dakota Ridge High School. Both men were relaxed when speaking with fellow coworkers, calmly taking care of the situation at hand.

Emilya Barwick, Staff Writer

Inside of Dakota Ridge High School, most students consider it their safe place. Dave Bruening, the school’s resource officer, is one of the main reasons the school remains a safe spot for students and teachers. 

Between 2013 and 2019, there have been 24 mass shootings in Colorado according to the WestWord news outlet. Back in April of 2019 a major threat was made to Colorado when a woman named Sol Pais—a Columbine obsessed 18 year old—allegedly made multiple threats to schools in the Denver area, and 16 schools in the Denver area were closed for safety precautions. 

As years have passed, it seems as if the risks of being caught in a dangerous situation like that one have raised significantly. Deputy Dave, who has been working as SRO (School Resource Officer), does agree that as a student and an officer it is important to be more cautious, but in Bruening’s opinion, the school’s sense of community and positive moral has strengthened. “Times are changing for high school students [and] for kids in general,” said Bruening. But for him, he does not think his job has changed that much.

Photo Credits: Emilya Barwick
Deputy Dave rarely has to leave campus, but if there is an emergency outside of Dakota, he makes sure to attend to the situation as soon as possible .

What has changed, however, is the involvement of the students themselves. Deputy Dave has noticed that throughout his years as a SRO, students have become more involved in the safety of the school, and he values that quality. “You guys really take on your own security as a priority and that keeps this place safe,” Bruening says. The students are the main reason he continues to love his job and carry a passion for keeping Dakota Ridge safe. 

For Callie Mallory, a sophomore as well as a pre-IB honors student at Dakota Ridge High School, she’s comfortable going to school, despite the constant thought of danger coming her way. “I mean it’s always a concern that I think everyone has at the back of their minds. I’ve never really thought that it could happen to me,” Mallory said when speaking about the issue of mass school shootings. 

Dakota Ridge prides itself on the positive atmosphere it provides for its students and the safety it establishes through security members like Deputy Dave. Avery Wagoner, a sophomore at DRHS, who is also an active participant at most of Dakota Ridge’s events, believes that the atmosphere is only improving for her. She loves how open and friendly the environment is, and how close peers can get to one another. “I can be myself, and I think everyone else felt more comfortable too as we moved on from freshman year,” Wagoner said.

“Times are changing for high school students [and] for kids in general.”

Dave Bruening’s protection and urgency to keep the school as safe as possible has greatly impacted the students at Dakota Ridge. Most students’ perspectives have been shifted to a more positive outlook on the future of violence because of Bruening’s ability to keep the school well protected and safe. 

As a school and as a community, the environment has grown positively, and it is the younger generation who is in charge of continually building up a connection between the students and the outgoing community. In Bruening’s case, he wants to be the one to help students grow and excel. “Somebody helped me get through it, and it’s my job to help you safely navigate through high school, and go on to greater things,” Bruening says.