How long have you been the School Resource Officer?
Nov. 1 was my first day.
How did this position come about?
It's a grant-funded position through the Board of Education. It went away due to the economy. Then they decided to involve the schools that were already participating when it got cut, so Williams was one of those schools. So the grant was refunded by the Board of Education starting from Nov. 1 and then it ends when school's out in May.
The Police Department, in conjunction with the School Board and administration, are going to reapply for the grant in hopes that they could get it again. They'd like it to keep going. And the money's there. So that'll take place in April. I imagine at some point before the start of the school year Williams will find out if they were awarded the grant or not. Then that would be for three years.
What are your responsibilities?
You have to teach 90 hours of a law enforcement related topic, obviously the safety aspect of it as well, and then developing that rapport with these kids. I think there has been an improvement down here at the middle school.
The chief told me that a lot of the issues have gone away since I've been down here. And this position wasn't here last year. This year it was a little crazy prior to Nov. 1 but since I'm here and the kids see me a lot things seem to be much better-a better environment for all kids.
I try to get out and I try to say hi and interact with all the kids, because I think that's important. Obviously I'm an authority figure here in uniform, but you want to develop that rapport with the kids. And I go out of my way talking to the kids because I enjoy the kids anyway and I just like working with them.
What does the educational aspect of your job entail?
I put on a program called The Truth About Drugs. It breaks all the drugs down-marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, ecstasy-and you have a program each on that. So we're really kicking off on the junior high side of that. And the kids really seem to like it and they seem to respond very well with some real good questions and stuff so I think it's really beneficial.
What are your goals?
Number one I'm here for safety for the whole campus. I think with my patrol car being outside visible that they see a Williams Police car here and me inside the building, I think that helps a lot. It's not a big big school. And I think it helps at the high school, as far as I park my car in areas where the kids have to make sure they drive safely because we want a safe campus overall, both places.
The Police Department, school board and administration support this program 100 percent. It's nice to have that kind of support.
What's a typical day like?
I put in 10 hours a day. Usually it's from 7 in the morning to 5 p.m. I usually get here around 7 and I'll just sit outside the school and I make sure the kids get across the crosswalk safely and people see me in my car. So it's just a deterrent from anybody running stop signs or causing problems while these young kids are crossing the road.
And then I come into the school, make sure kids are in class on time because they have a tendency to roam the halls. I roam the halls, say "hi" to the kids, let them know I'm here. I walk in some classrooms, because some classrooms are noisier than others, so I peek my head in and say "hi."
Then I have also my regular teaching, where I teach the Law and Safety class at the high school, and that's from noon to about 1:15. Then I come back here and I teach another hour of the World of Work. So I'm busy.
If there's a little issue, like a little kid was sick today and their parents couldn't get them, so I picked him up and took him home. I also took a kid to go get a math book. So I help out however I can here.
What's the best part of your job?
I just love working with the kids. I love interacting with them out in the hallway. My rapport with the kids is outstanding. I've had kids come and talk to me about issues, and that's confidential, but it's good to develop that rapport. And I think it pays off in the long run. I try to show the kids that (law enforcement officers are) human and we're willing to listen and talk and it's not all about arresting people. If there's domestic violence and we go to your house we're just trying to make sure things are safe. We're not always looking to arrest somebody.