An Officer and A Role Model

An Officer and A Role Model

Most of our DC family sees School Resource Officer James Swearingen every day as he directs traffic for morning drop-off time.  As he waves you on and smiles, perhaps you’ve wondered what he does the rest of the day. You might be surprised to know that you are just as likely to find him in the lunchroom, the Warrior Center, or a classroom as you are to find him behind his desk.

As a school resource officer, first and foremost Swearingen is an officer of the law, and is here for our safety should an emergency arise.  He trains for this and is always working to improve the security of our school. In fact, as I write this, Swearingen is attending “Stop School Violence: Threat Assessment Training” through the Sandy Hook Promise Program.

However, “Officer James” (as he is affectionately known to our students) spends much of his time at DC focusing on the resource part of his title.

He recently spent several days in Mrs. Dulski’s class, teaching her students some practical self-defense tips and emphasizing the need to be aware of their environment. He urged them, for example, to put their phones down in public so that they can focus on what is going on around them and to involve their parents when addressing internet safety.

Swearingen also has a personal passion for showing students at Dayton Christian that police officers have a positive impact on our community.

He walks the hallways of DC with a disarming smile that is evident even behind the mask he must wear to follow COVID-19 protocols. His upbeat and engaging nature creates a welcoming and happy environment, and our students love him for it.

“My goal is to give students a positive example of a police officer and to be open for conversation,” he says. “I want kids to see the example of an ‘Officer Swearingen good attitude.’”

To do that, he engages students at their level which goes above and beyond the friendly greetings he offers in the hallways.

This fall, he took part in the preschool’s Community Helpers unit and brought the students outside to see and crawl into his police car.  You may have caught our social media post that showed him allowing them to push a button to turn on the lights or sound a siren.  If so, you’ll have seen him laughing and enjoying the time just as much as they did.

Swearingen also sometimes takes part in physical education classes in the Warrior Center to play pickle ball, knockout and ping pong along with the kids. And when I ask him how this routine began, he simply states, “Well, they invited me.”

If you can imagine a grinning 6’3” uniformed police officer laughing as an elementary-aged boy beats him at knock-out, then you understand the heart of DC’s SRO.

Officer James Swearingen’s purpose is to keep us safe, and for that we are grateful. We are even more appreciative of his spirit. Whether he’s hanging out in the lunchroom, playing games with our high school students on Spirit Day 2020, or directing traffic, Swearingen shows up with a smile and a positive attitude. And Dayton Christian is thankful to have such a role model.