Getting to know Officer Gary

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Getting to know Officer Gary

Chrystian Wimberly, Staff Writer

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Gary Nieberlein is the resource officer for MMS.  You’ve probably seen him greeting and dismissing students each day or walking the halls. 

According to NASRO (the National Association for School Resource Officers), school resource officers, often called SROs, are career law enforcement officers who are employed by a community to offer protection in one or more school buildings.  NASRO says it is “best practice” that a resource officer fulfill three main roles: educator (i.e. guest lecturer), informal counselor/mentor, and law enforcement officer.

Officer Gary fulfills the role of guest lecturer, often by working with health classes. He recently met with classes to discuss the dangers of opioids and alcohol. He showed students the emergency medical equipment that officers carry to assist overdose victims–Narcan, an AED (automated external defribulator), and wound treatments.

He also develops relationships with students daily by being present throughout the school day. When needed, he assists in resolving conflicts, deescalating situations, and responding to any crises.

Officer Gary grew up in Parma, Ohio, and he lived in a neighborhood where “everyone got along.”  He has been a cop for twenty-six years, since 1993, and when he applied for the job at Mayfield, he didn’t even know where or what Mayfield was.

Since he was a kid, Officer Gary wanted to be a police officer. “ I always wanted to be a police officer,” he said. “I was set on it.” He went through training at the Cleveland Heights Police Academy. This four-month training camp is the first step in becoming a police officer. 

To be a school resource officer, Officer Gary received additional specialized training.  Although his job at MMS requires that he stay off the road and normal patrol, he still goes on patrol on days when school is not in session.

Outside of work, Officer Gary enjoys reading and his family. “They are great,” he said. 

The mission statement of the Ohio School Resource Officer Association best captures the important role that Officer Gary fills.  “The OSROA believes that the presence of a properly trained School Resource Officer within a school provides a first line of defense against violence, fosters communication/partnerships between educators, law enforcement, students and parents, and ensures safer and more productive school communities in Ohio.”

Thanks, Officer Gary Nieberlein, for your work in our building.