FAIRFIELD (CBS13) — With the increasing number of deadly shootings and violence on school campuses, the job of school resource officer has become more important than ever and more dangerous.
The Fairfield Police Department is honoring a resource officer, in part because of his work on one local campus.
Officer Jerriod Mack is a friendly face around Armijo High School in Fairfield. He’s the school’s resource officer on campus who has also recently been named Fairfield Police Department’s officer of the year.
“I didn’t know I was in the running first of all, I’m still in shock and awe,” says officer Mack.
The good-natured officer’s work on campus was part of the reason for the prestigious award.
District spokesperson Tim Goree says of Mack, “He’s very interested in not just policing the school, but really creating relationships.”
Relationships with students who have come to trust and rely on him.
One student says, “He looks like a big teddy bear; nobody would harm us with him here.”
“He’s been an inspiration to me, always kept me in check and made the school a better place and a safer place,” says another.
As more schools across the nation deal with deadly campus shootings, school resource officers like Mack are assigned to keep a close watch on campus, stepping in as a trained and armed police officer, when needed.
“The first thing is safety,” says Mack, “students, teachers, parents, everyone here on campus.”
But Mack goes a step further, sometimes buying snacks for students he worries may not have money for food.
“If you’re hungry and you don’t have any food, come get a cup of noodles,” he said.
He says it is the bridge building he does with students that can prevent violence before it happens.
Less than five years in uniform, officer Mack has already had former students thank him for his outreach in helping them turn their lives around. Mack says he’s just doing what he can, where he can.
“Contrary to popular belief, the students can be reached and can be changed for the better. Being able to do that and have it happen, that’s why I come to work every day.”