Student resource officer brings diverse background to Shaler Area
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | 11:03 AM
by Stephanie Bodner, Shaler Area HS
The Shaler Area School District has made it known that security in its schools has become a number one priority. This year, along with a few more security guards, another police officer was added to our staff. Officer Brennan Jackson was added to the staff as a student resource officer to help current student resource officer Frank Spiker.
Jackson is no stranger to patrolling the streets, but finds the halls of the Shaler Area School District a little more unfamiliar.
The types of cases on the day to day are always changing.
“More than anything I take corrective measures, I don’t really run into anything too serious,” he said.
Although that may be the case here, Jackson has seen and been trained to handle situations much worse. Jackson started his police career in lower income areas of Pittsburgh.
“You see more severe cases in low income areas, my first day on the job I was immediately put into the middle of it all, I was patrolling when a call for a shooting came over the radio,” Jackson said.
Jackson remained in these areas for some time. His experiences have shaped him into the person he is today. Jackson is not the first in the family that has pursued work in the police area.
His father was a state police officer and now does work in the security field at hospitals in the Pittsburgh area, and his uncle was also a police officer.
A police officer’s uniform was not always the uniform that Jackson saw himself in.
“I thought for the longest time that I would be doing something in the medical field, and went as far as attending Marshall University for biology, I completed school for a year before realizing that it wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore,” he said.
Jackson speaks about his time in the police academy highly, “The reality of the unwritten sister and brotherhood would make anyone feel privileged to be a part of it,” he said.
Jackson had the feeling that life had a lot more in store for him, which proved to be true when he became a father.
“My life is completely taken over by my son, we are constantly trying to keep him involved in an active life between basketball, football, family time, and playing video games together,» he said.
Following his father, uncle, and grandfather, Jackson’s son also hopes to be a police officer.
“He has a great relationship with my father.”
Finding the balance between having a job that requires utmost alertness while being a laid-back father is something Jackson can say he is successful at.
“The two actually complement one another, being a father has helped me in my field immensely and being a police officer has shaped me as a father.”
Jackson has slowly seen life mold into what he can now call his everyday routine.
“I met my wife when I worked at Children’s Hospital for six years, she was a PA. I used to walk certain ways just to see her. My wife has been extremely supportive in everything, she’s my best friend. She doesn’t get too nervous when I leave for the day. My mother, on the other hand, is different.”
You don’t have to follow the news to be aware of how often police officers are seen in a negative light. Although, one may not think that being involved in police work with those at our age would be something that would involve the dark sides of today’s viewpoints.
“Everybody loves to be a victim now, most things heard in the media is a big misunderstanding. That’s why I like talking to the younger generations to try to form an unbiased opinion on law enforcement,” he said.
Jackson has a unique perspective, being a black man, while also being a police officer.
“I have had many friends leave my life based on my job, and that is something I have to respect and understand. I understand both sides of the story. I had many friends that were raised to believe that the police were the bad guys, and that’s something I can’t control. It’s their opinion and that’s fine,” he said.
Being raised in a home with an officer as a father, Jackson was not raised with the viewpoints that some have about police.
Society as a whole is a large melting pot of opinions on authority. Pop culture has a big part in molding the idea of the ideal police officer. Jackson is very aware of how police are perceived in movies, books, and especially on television.
“I watch some of the shows on TV. They are getting better with not being as ridiculous. There are still some shows that are not accurate in the least bit, but when I watch them I like, ‘Chicago PD,’ ‘911,’ and ‘Criminal Minds.’”