Officer monitors speeding during lunch

Police presence generates mixed emotions

School+resource+officer+Maurice+Smith+sits+outside+of+lunch+Sept.+23.+Smith+sits+across+the+street+of+the+school+everyday+during+lunch.+

Jacob Perszyk

School resource officer Maurice Smith sits outside of lunch Sept. 23. Smith sits across the street of the school everyday during lunch.

Sophia Curran-Moore

As students eat lunch, a police car sits quietly but perceptibly on Edgewood Ave S. School resource officer Maurice Smith said his job during lunch is to supervise traffic near the high school. According to Smith, people in the community brought up concerns about the speed of vehicles in the area last year.

“I’m just going to sit out here and monitor traffic. I make sure students and other civilians that live in the area aren’t speeding, at the request of some of the school officials and some of the residents here in this neighborhood and some students as well,” Smith said.

According to senior Ethan Robeck, teenagers tend to drive recklessly. He said it is unsafe when drivers disobey rules.

“(Teens) are excited and we aren’t paying too much attention, but maybe we should because we’re new at driving,” Robeck said. “The rules are in place for a reason — you probably shouldn’t be messing with them so much because it’s a safety issue and you don’t want to hit anyone.”

Although they generally don’t support having officers in the building, senior Jacy Demcisak said they are okay with an officer monitoring traffic outside.

“My entire time schooling, we’ve had police officers in the building or around the building. It sucks that a lot of them are there … With police officers in school, it’s more probable that small infractions are going to end up being punished,” Demcisak said. “I’m more comfortable with (police) outside, helping with speeding, than in class, waiting for someone to mess up.”

What I enjoy most is interacting with the students, interacting with the staff and building that relationship with the students.”

— Maurice Smith

Smith said his favorite part of his job is getting to know students and staff. He said he wants students to feel comfortable talking to him.

“What I enjoy most is interacting with the students, interacting with the staff and building that relationship with the students,” Smith said. “Having (students) feel comfortable coming to me and speaking to me about things, whether it’s school-related, whether it’s something that they’re dealing with at home or whether it’s something from a criminal aspect is part of bridging the gap between law enforcement and students.”

Robeck said seeing a police car outside during lunch was off-putting at first, but now he supports it.

“At first, it was weird, but now it’s fine,” Robeck said. “It is a good idea because we are all outside eating and it is a safety issue. We don’t want to be hit by cars while we’re eating.”

According to Smith, mistakes he made during his time in high school help him empathize with students. He said he strives to mentor students instead of losing patience with them.

“When I was in high school, I made a lot of goofy mistakes. I got into trouble. I put myself in a lot of unfortunate situations but I learned and I grew from it,” Smith said. “I need to learn how to mentor you instead of just getting frustrated with some of the things that I see … I was there ten years ago, so I get it.”