BELOIT, Ill. (WTVO) — Officer Blaine Oxenreider is reflecting on his time as a school resource officer as his days patrolling a pair of Beloit schools is coming to an end.
Oxenreider says the reality of his leaving began to hit him as he was looking through a book of mementos of the past five years, during which he’s been the resource officer for both McNeel and Cunningham Intermediate Schools.
“Yeah when they gave it to me, that’s when it really sank in, so that this is the end,” he said. “I had a great time in both buildings. Student services, the councilors, social workers and such. We work hand in hand in trying to make sure the kids are getting an education.”
For Oxenreider, the job was more than just building a good relationship with students. He says he enjoyed setting up the foundation for the rest of their lives.
“I like that model because I can reach to kids when they’re young, in 4th or 5th grade, and develop those relationships,” he said.
To reach other students, Oxenreider came up with his own games, like the “Orange Peel Challenge.”
“I would cut it for them and they would have to peel it all the way off, and if they were to get it off without breaking it, then I would give them a piece of candy,” he said.
Oxenreider’s efforts also impacted school Principal Michelle Hendrix-Nora as well.
“His relationship, that he has built with the students over the years, and the families, has been great. I’ve learned a lot from him and it’s always great for the students to have a different perspective of law enforcement,” Hendrix-Nora said.
“Kids, like I said, they’re adversarial. But then they come up to you later, [when] they’re getting ready to graduate and they do a parade through the schools that they went to, and they come and give you a hug, and you’re like ‘Wow they heard me,’ and it feels good,” he said.
Officer Oxenerider has gone back to patrol duty with the Beloit Police Department but says he’ll visit the students every now and then.