We congratulate Garner police Officer Kevan Anderson on being named his department’s Officer of the Year.
It is an impressive honor, made all the more so because he is chosen by his peers, all of whom we are sure would like to have that same award sitting on their own mantel.
Anderson won the award because he did much more than come in to work everyday, pull his shift and go home.
He fills a rather unique position within the department as a school resource officer, which means his day is not spent cruising around town in a patrol car. He’s charged with protecting a specific part of the population.
And, as many law enforcement officers would say, working with young people at a middle school means working with a group of people who are very much at a crossroads in their lives.
It’s often during middle school that a person’s future is set. They can go down the wrong path, or they can choose to follow a more positive, productive path.
Anderson is in the unique position of helping shape those decisions and which path young people choose to follow will go a long way in determining how much work other officers will have to do years down the road as those young people reach adulthood.
But Anderson can shape those young people’s decisions by sitting in the SRO office at the school or taking a quick stroll around campus while the students are in class. He’s got to interact with them, get to know them and listen to them.
Anderson has done all that, but, to be clear, he’s taken it beyond the four walls of the schoolhouse.
He’s actively involved in the Police Athletic Activities League – or PAAL – another police department activity designed to promote better relationships with the community. And guess who the major participants are? Yep, many of those same students Anderson works with as part of his day job.
There’s a lesson to be learned here by all of us, no matter our chosen profession: if you really want to succeed in your chosen field, you have to put in the extra effort. Anderson has and his peers recognized him for it.