Thursday, July 30, 2015

Feature: School Resource Unit, Deputy Cannon

A Computer MacGyver Of Sorts & Kid Mentor

By Heather Benjamin, Mesa County Sheriff's Office

It has all the basics of a joke. 


Q: What does a Master Technician for Mobile Electronics, a software developer and a DUI specialist have in common? 

A: James Cannon, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputy extraordinaire.

If there is a problem, Cannon has a solution. If there is a leak, he has a patch. An idea? He makes it reality. 
MCSO Photo: Deputy James Cannon
July 2015

Meet Deputy James Cannon, MCSO School Resource Deputy.

"I wanted something different," he said.

That’s why he asked to be part of the school resource unit.

Kids are fun, he said, and he wanted a different experience in policing than what he had in patrol, which involved street crimes and working with the Drug Task Force.

After 10 years working as a certified Master Technician for Mobile Electronics, and self-taught software engineer, Cannon put himself through the Delta Police Academy and was hired as a Detention Deputy in 2004.

Cannon has written and developed two software programs for the Sheriff's Office. One program populates court dates and fines for the area's model traffic code and the other program organizes inmates in the booking area of the Detention Center, on a large reader board.

You are likely to find Cannon instructing at the local Police Academy on drunk driving investigations or performing roadside tests on a driver suspected to be under the influence of drugs. Later in his shift, he could be fighting wildfires, training a new hire or playing basketball on a recess break at one of his assigned schools.

Last school year, Cannon crafted the idea of having rewards for kids. He solicited donations from local businesses and money to buy water bottles adorned with the MCSO logo. The bottles go to kids who have great attendance or exceptional behavior or who do good deeds that might otherwise go unrecognized, etc. 

Students who earn the water bottles proudly carry them and use them all year, Cannon said. It’s a reward program that will carry on this school year; he just received a new shipment of water bottles.

Over the summer, while kids are out of school, Cannon would normally be assigned to a patrol team. 

But instead, the school resource deputies worked as their own unit, covering busy times on patrol and special assignments. That also gave Cannon time to make home visits to kids who could benefit from him as an ongoing role model. He looked forward to those home visits and said they were very productive for him and the kids.

He will continue to teach classes on Internet safety, police report writing and drug education in School District 51 facilities. If kids don't find him walking the halls or playing basketball, they should plan on having him in class as a guest teacher.

Cannon is assigned to the Grand Mesa Middle School, Fruitvale Elementary, Thunder Mountain Elementary, K-12 Christian Community School and the Christian Community Preschool.

You can contact Deputy James Cannon at

Tips From School District 51 Officials--

Back to School Checklist:

  • Register your child at their attendance-area school, birth certificate required
  • Have all required immunizations completed, available at Mesa County Health Department:
  • Plan ahead for transportation: how will your child get to and from school
  • Apply for free and reduced lunch:
  • Look at lunches for the week and plan lunches from home
  • Pick-up school supplies
  • Have a fashion show and select clothes the night before
  • Transfer the school calendar to your family calendars
  • Reset sleep schedules and make sure kids get at least 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Practice your morning routine to make it fun and exciting
  • Plan time to meet your child’s teacher, but set an appointment if you need to discuss any specific issues or concerns

A comprehensive guide will distribute through the Sentinel and individual schools have/will contact registered parents directly. is the central repository of information.