District welcomes new student resource officer

Officer+Lewis+Johnson+surveys+the+lunchroom.+Photo+by+Annie+Brown

Officer Lewis Johnson surveys the lunchroom. Photo by Annie Brown

As with all new sights among the high school lunchroom conversation, the decidedly unusual presence of Officer Lewis Johnson in the cafeteria in mid-January was certainly a topic of discussion. The answer: Mequon-Thiensville hired a School Resource Officer (SRO) to fill the vacancy of former SRO Tarie Umhoefer.

Officer Johnson has worked for the Mequon Police Department for four years, starting as a second shift officer before stepping into the new role for the district just over three weeks ago.

“My role here is to basically help the administration out, create relationships with students and teachers at Homestead, and be that bridge between the police department and Homestead. So, if anything needs to happen, or if any information needs to get passed on to Homestead and vice versa, that’s my job,” Johnson said.

Beyond the logistics of what it means to be an SRO, Johnson seeks a deeper role within not only the administration, but the school community as a whole. He believes that the connections he makes with the students and faculty are some of the most vital, especially in a high school setting.

“I’m a big kid at heart, so I love being able to hang out with students and build relationships. I love being able to foster the “growing up” mentality. Helping kids, helping teachers, just being of assistance: that’s my favorite part of the job,” Johnson said.

While Officer Johnson is new to his particular position, he understands the overarching sense of belonging Homestead attempts to foster among students and staff. Johnson emphasizes the fact that students should know that he is always willing to speak with them.

“I’m very approachable. I love to talk. I know I’m new here, so I’m still putting some faces with names and everything, but I just want students to know that I’m approachable, I love hearing stories,” Johnson said.

As the trimester rolls on and January slides into February before our eyes, welcoming new faces is exciting as ever, and Officer Johnson is no exception. While students may at first see the new staff addition as a watchful eye over our day-to-day lives, Johnson wants to be a part of that everyday for the students at Homestead; by bridging the gap between law enforcement and student welfare, he sees himself as someone students can trust.

“If I could go back to high school, I’d like to take the knowledge I have now, and go back to, you know, my 17-year-old self, and, kind of cheat the system; all that wisdom is important,” Johnson said at the end of our interview. “I love to talk, I always have candy in my office, and pretty soon I’ll have a basketball hoop on my door.”

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