‘Somebody they can look up to, I think that drives me,’ School Liaison Officers head back to school

Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 10:15 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2023 at 10:28 PM CDT
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CANYON, Texas (KFDA) - Students and teachers are all back in school, which means so are school liaison officers.

The ‘day-to-day’ of a school resource officer is to keep the students and staff safe and provide a sense of security.

Corporal Jimmy Hernandez is kicking off his 10th year as school liaison officer for Canyon Junior High and Corporal Jeb Hilton, former Public Information Officer for the Amarillo Police Department, is beginning his first year at West Plains Junior High.

“To hear some of those kids say Officer Hernandez thank you for being here. Thank you for taking care of us. That alone is big, you know, you don’t think that these kids know or feel that but they do feel that, that sense of security, so it’s a good feeling knowing that they want you here and respect that you’re here,” says Hernandez.

While both of these officers take safety and security seriously, when asked what they love most about their job, both say it’s the relationships they make.

“All these kids have different stories and different backgrounds and getting to learn their background getting to know their stories is probably the best part of the job,” says Hernandez.

“Having them come up and holler at me in the hallway or at lunch or recess wanting to throw a football back and forth, I mean it’s a fun deal. You get to be a part of that aspect of the security and the safety, but you’re having fun while you’re doing it,” says Hilton

As parents, both Corporal Hilton and Corporal Hernandez understand how vital the role of a school liaison officer is, not just for safety but for being a good support system as well.

“I want the kiddos to understand that I’m here as a police officer, but I don’t want them to think of me as the authority and the law. I want them to think, ‘man that guy’s my friend. He’s a mentor. He’s someone that I can go to if I have some problems.’ And I think if we are that person, we’re going to be able to get ahead of some of these things and at least have some information, maybe even stop some of them just by being that mentor for that person that might need it,” says Hilton.

“That’s what I want to be for these kids is just somebody that they can look up to and know that I’m here. So I think that drives me,” says Hernandez.

Hernandez and Hilton both describe their jobs as a blessing they look forward to each morning.

While there is a big difference in time spent as an officer on campus, their love for their jobs continues to grow.

Corporal Hilton’s goal this year is to memorize every student’s name and Corporal Hernandez hopes to continue to serve Canyon ISD for another decade.