New Bedford School Resource Officer Celebrated for Making a Difference
New Bedford Police School Resource Officers will remain in New Bedford Public Schools, Superintendent Thomas Anderson communicated at the July 12 meeting of the New Bedford School Committee. Anderson said the announcement comes after 14 months of evaluation, careful review and important input through a series of community conversations.
“Here in New Bedford our SRO program has always been a huge success. We are delighted that the school administration has decided to retain it," Police Chief Paul Oliveira said.
The timing is befitting, considering one of New Bedford Police Officer Shane Harris, the SRO at the Whaling City Jr./Sr. High School, has been chosen to receive the prestigious Regional Exceptional Service Award for the New England region by the National Association of School Resource Officers.
Principal John Tweedie nominated Harris for the award.
"All our students have experienced obstacles which have prohibited them from receiving an education in a traditional setting," he said. "Officer Harris has demonstrated the unique ability to make deliberate connections with some of our most at-risk students."
Officer Harris has been an SRO at the school for 12 years.
“Ofc. Harris is a shining example of all that is right with policing,” Chief Oliveira said. “We are incredibly proud of the difference he makes every day and congratulate him for this recognition.”
According to Tweedie, since Harris was a young boy, he suffered hardships and setbacks, growing up in foster care and running a foul of the law himself. But that was then, this is now. In life-changing situations, where students have sustained adversities, some of their own volition and other times against their will, "Officer Harris is viewed by our students, who are some of the toughest in our school system, as a father figure and someone they feel comfortable sharing their most intimate and dark experiences with," Tweedie said.
Officer Harris is always volunteering his time to meet with students individually, work with them on homework, and giving them rides home and meeting their parents, going above and beyond the defined role of a School Resource Officer.
The esteemed award is presented to individuals who've continually shown and sustained service to the school community.
"With all the strife and opposition our police officers have faced in the last few years, Officer Harris still proudly puts on his uniform daily and arrives at our school with a smile on his face," Tweedie said.
Tweedie added that Harris embodies the word "resource" in SRO. Here's hoping the kids tear a page out of his book.