Editor's Note: This is a story in a series looking at this area’s school resource officers and the work they do to keep local students and schools safe.
For the last year Tanya Thompson has been one of three school resource (SRO) officers at McLoud Public Schools (MPS).
According to Thompson, she’s been in law enforcement for the last three years and she’s always wanted to be a police officer.
“I’ve wanted to be a cop forever. I got out of the military and I liked the structure and I didn’t see a lot of women in law enforcement, so it was just something I wanted to do,” Thompson said.
Thompson is originally from Shawnee and she explained the best aspect of her job is her relationship with the students.
“When I came on last year a lot of the kids were kind of afraid of the cops and so I worked really hard to (let them) know that we’re not the bad guys,” Thompson said. “I’ve had a lot of kids who will greet me, give me high fives or handshakes…They feel more comfortable taking to the cops than they did before.”
As far as she knows, Thompson said she is the only female school resource officer in the county, and it makes her feel proud.
“I think there needs to be more female resource officers because we are able to maybe handle a situation better than a male would,” Thompson said. “I hope that I’m paving the way towards other female law enforcement officers.”
Thompson said while she’s proud to be an SRO, her job is not without its hardships.
“I think the most challenging aspect is when a kid I’ve known for a while ends up going down the wrong path and we have to make that decision at that time to be like “You’ve made this decision. I can no longer act as your friend,’” Thompson said.
Thompson said she has been at MPS the longest out of the three SROs and she hopes as time goes on their relationship with students and parents grows stronger.
“(I hope) the more the SROs work with kids the more communities will realize we’re here for them and we’re here for their children,” Thompson said. “We’re here not only to get to know their kids, but for their kids to get to know us.”