by Ben Farmer, Reporter, WVTV
AURORA – Ray Morris is Waubonsie Valley’s new resource officer. Morris has been a police officer for 17 years, but this is his first year at the school.
“So my duties as a school resource officer and an officer on the street are somewhat similar,” said Morris. “An officer on the street goes from call to call daily. My duties include safety and security within the school, keeping community engagement between the police department and students, keeping those positive relationships within the school.”
Throughout the United States, there was a push by some to remove officers from schools, but Morris feels it’s important for officers to be present in school buildings. “The Waubonsie community has been very accepting. I think that there’s a shift now from wanting to have an officer in the school because we’ve seen a lot of violence that’s been happening across the country in schools, so I think it’s very important that we have an officer in the schools. I think that shift is starting to show now. Waubonsie has done a very good job at keeping its students safe. I think their number one goal is from when students leave their parents or their guardians to keep them safe. They have a very good camera system here that is monitored daily, as well as having staff present. There’s staff present throughout the day at different parts of the school and mainly having an SRO present. They’ve done a great job by having me here, placed throughout the school. I make it my goal to make rounds throughout the school, keeping contact with the students, positive contacts and community engagement.”
For Morris becoming a police officer was a decision he made in order to make a difference in communities. “As a kid, I grew up in a very bad neighborhood in Chicago, in the Austin neighborhood. I saw a lot of things that were wrong within the neighborhood, and, during my teenage years, I was fortunate enough to get out of that and move to the western suburbs, and I wanted to make a change and try to help combat some of those things, the gangs and the drugs that were happening in Chicago. So that’s why I became a police officer.”