School Resource Officers Making a Difference: Mackey Keener at McLoud Schools

Elisabeth Slay
From left to right Mcloud Schol Resource Officer (SRO) with one of the several students he keeps safe and fellow SRO Marcus Burris.

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 almost a year Sargent Mackey Keener has been one of three School Resource Officers at McLoud Public Schools (MPS) and though it’s been a short time, the officer has had over 30 years in law enforcement to prepare him.

The 64-year-old said for decades he has worked in various branches of law enforcement including as a paramedic, an Oklahoma City police officer, a helicopter pilot for Air One and a state park ranger.

"I am up in age and I've got so much experience from all the departments. I have about 35 years plus police work and now I'm adding in more" Keener said.

The school resource officer explained he was working as a lake ranger at Wes Watkins Reservoir when he discovered there was an opening at McLoud Police Department.

"I had kept all my qualifications up...and I applied for it and they hired me because they didn't have to put a lot of money in me and I retired and I like to keep busy," Keener said.

The officer explained his career began after he received his pilot's license at 16 and worked as a helicopter pilot for the Air Support Unit in Oklahoma City.

"I had my pilot's license before I had my driver's license...I was super motivated. At 18 I was a paramedic...After I retired from the city I became a park ranger and manager...and did that for 11 years and (then) turned 62 and retired," Keener said.

Keener explained while he has all this experience, being a school resource officer is different than anything he's done in the past.

"Everything is new for me. I've been out of law enforcement for about 12 years so it's taking a little bit to get back into the groove," Keener said.

For the officer, the best aspect of his new position is working with the students which is something he's always been fond of.

"I like the kids...I've always been around kids in church and in the children's home I ran...and I had a lot of fun there and everything and I just thought why not," Keener said.

Since July of 2019 Keener said he's been with McLoud and has slowly started to build relationships with them.

"Young people these days have a little bit of a different philosophy and I'm just now getting used to it," Keener said. "I like to help people and I like to teach a kid something that (he or she) doesn't know about."

The school resource officer said a challenging aspect of this position is understanding the new diverse range of students.

"You've got to understand there's certain procedures that officers out on the street can't do, (but) that we can do," Keener said. "Each (student is) individual...and we treat (students) different than if they were out on the street."

As time goes on, Keener said he hopes to remain at McLoud, hone his skills as a school resource officer and work with his team.

"I'd like to stay here as long as my physical health will do it," Keener said. "We have a team here that is just perfect...and we want to maintain safety not just for the kids, but...parents (and teachers)."

Keener said he loves his job despite the challenges and he's grateful to the students, teachers, administrators, parents and McLoud Police Chief Wes Elliott for allowing him to keep them safe.