Law Enforcement Agency: Sherwood Police Department

How long have you worked in law enforcement? 15 years

Why did you become an SRO?
I still believe the children are our future, and what better way to invest in that than to make an investment with them. It’s truly a calling and it comes back full circle. I remember substitute teaching for Fuller Jr. High School, especially in the CBI classroom, now called Life Skills. I really enjoyed it! Now as an SRO, I’m still able to teach on topics law enforcement-related and focused on positive behavior to all my students.

What school/school district do you currently serve?
I’m currently assigned to the Sylvan Hills Middle School (GO BEARS!), Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD). My partners are Tammy Turner and Jamal Hockaday. Together, we serve all 8 of the PCSSD schools in our city. We also assist with the PreK-12 Private Schools and Public Charter Schools in our city when we’re needed.

What do you find most challenging about working on a school campus?
I’m sure the other SROs have said the same thing, but the politics, rules vs. laws, administration, all different world views combining together to form an educational environment. Serving as a liaison between the school and outside agencies can be challenging, so it’s very important to get an understanding of your relationships.

What do you find most rewarding about working on a school campus?
I have a hand in being the first line Law Enforcer, Educator, Informal Counselor, and Emergency Manager on my campuses. I’m also part of an ongoing 31 plus years relationship the Sherwood Police Department has with the Pulaski County Special School District by providing SROs for their schools. I think the School Resource Officer Program has always spoken for itself and is held in high regard all over the state of Arkansas. Even though half of my childhood schools are gone now, I still remember those relationships I built while attending the PCSSD myself. South of the river, I started at College Station Elementary. Then I attended Fuller Elementary, Fuller Jr. High, and I graduated from Mills High School. Only two of those four schools are left now – College Station Elementary School and Mills High School – but memories of my school days will remain.

What has surprised you the most about working with kids?
This generation of technology and artificial intelligence that kids are born operating and using. They really have the world at their fingertips and we need to teach them to be responsible with their devices.

Are there any programs/techniques that you feel have been helpful and effective in creating a safe learning environment?
Yes. You have to stay with whatever works for your school climate and always include new data along with up-to-date training. CJI, ASSA, and the Attorney General’s Office have supported and developed many programs/techniques over the years that are very relevant and helpful thenetworking that SROs use daily. Most school districts have in-house techniques or different state and national programs that they use effectively.

What advice would you give to a first-year SRO?
Be very patient and listen to the students. We know safety is a priority, but building that positive relationship with them makes everything else fall in line.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
Being with my wife and kids, sports, and community outreach.

If you weren’t a police officer, what would you be doing instead?
Full time clergy/youth ministry and working with those who are disabled or have special needs.