Law Enforcement Agency: Decatur Police Department

How long have you worked in law enforcement? 9 years

Why did you become an SRO?
Throughout my years of service, I’ve always been able to connect and relate to kids. One year, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and wanted to do something for the kids during Christmas time, resulting in the Centerton Elf on the Shelf. This entailed wearing an Elf costume for around 2 weeks, interacting with kids around the city. That really kicked started the path to becoming an SRO. The other thing I wanted to share with kids is my dis”ability” with Tourette Syndrome. Showing them that they can do anything they put their mind to.

What school/school district do you currently serve?
Decatur Middle / High School

What do you find most challenging about working on a school campus?
Juggling the different ages and maturity levels within the eight different grade levels I am assigned and having nearly half of the school district in the ESL category.

What do you find most rewarding about working on a school campus?
The relationships I have built with these kids that will last a lifetime, especially when I am off duty and run into them around town.

What has surprised you the most about working with kids?
Most kids are accepting of correction and discipline; the trick is all in your approach and connection.

Are there any programs/techniques that you feel have been helpful and effective in creating a safe learning environment?
Honestly, with this being my second full year in the SRO role, the SRO Basic program was helpful enough to foster an understanding on how to create an environment of safety and security.

What advice would you give to a first-year SRO?
BE YOURSELF. The kids will respect you and you will be more approachable when you are yourself.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
Spending time with my family, playing drums at church, watching sports, specifically the Philadelphia Phillies.

If you weren’t a police officer, what would you be doing instead?
Honestly, doing something impactful with the youth.

Do you know a School Resource Officer who should be featured in our SRO Spotlight? Let us know!

Contact Keith Graham at [email protected] or 501-570-8098.