Officer Cody Brown is exactly where he wants to be. “I got here as soon as I could,” said Brown. Brown became the Student Resource Officer (SRO) for Wylie ISD this past
January. From the beginning of our interview, it was evident that his commitment to Wylie is deep and his heart for the students and families of Wylie is big.
“I plan to retire from here, and I am not retiring any time soon,” he said with a grin. Brown has served the community of Abilene as a police officer since 2012, after graduating from Abilene Christian University in 2010. He worked as a patrol officer for seven years and then joined the Youth Division of the Abilene Police Department.
“I originally thought I wanted to coach,” said Brown. “I knew I wanted to work with kids so this is a way I could merge the two careers together.” Before joining the Wylie team, Brown served as the SRO for Cooper and prior to Cooper served at Madison Junior High and 5 other elementary campuses throughout Abilene ISD.
As we conversed about his role on campus and expectations for a law officer in a school setting, the desire to keep students and staff safe and building relationships became prominent themes.
“Safety and security are number one,” said Brown. “Wylie is leading the way in security and safety. I feel very confident our campuses are secure.” Brown is the only SRO serving Wylie, so he visits each of the campuses regularly to keep a pulse on this matter. Brown said Craig Bessent, assistant superintendent of school operations, leads the district in this capacity very well. “He [Bessent] loves kids and takes his job seriously.”
While Brown is housed at the high school, getting out to all the campuses is not only a priority for safety but also to get to know the students. “I’m proactive about being on
the other campuses because I want to build a rapport with all the students,” said Brown. “I want to know the kids.”
Brown said ideally when an officer becomes an SRO, the goal is to be more of an informal counselor and teacher than a police officer. “I want to teach them while they are young about the penalties of negative choices so when they are an adult the same thing doesn’t happen.”
Brown said he really tries to use the time with students as a teachable moment. “My goal is to not press charges, if possible,” he said. “I am going to try to be positive, but I am going to hold them accountable. I’m a police officer.” Brown said at the same time he will be a student’s biggest cheerleader. “One of the biggest rewards is when one of the kids who has problems comes to talk to me because he or she feels comfortable with me,” he said.
For those moments that end up being hard, Brown said it’s truly about helping the students grow from the situation and change choices before becoming an adult, which he believes is what parents want for their children, too. “I want the same thing as you [parents] do,” said Brown.
As for tips on helping students stay out of hard situations, Brown said actions on cell phones and social media are generally the root cause. “Very rarely do problems start at school. They start on social media and spill over into school,” he said. “Most people are bolder behind a phone and that is where issues begin.” He also said group texts often become grounds for bullying.
Brown said when parents proactively check phones it helps decrease problems for students and not just problems specific to school drama. “There are bad people everywhere, and when students are not monitored on their phones they can be victimized by outside people or groups,” said Brown.
While Officer Brown is new to Wylie, his day-to-day tasks are not – protecting students and caring for them is what he is called to do. “I love my job, and I am glad to be here,” said Brown.
Well, Officer Brown, we are just as grateful to have you.
By Kristen Johnson