It wasn’t that long ago that Shane Grammer walked the hallways of the schools of the Litchfield Community School District as a student; but for at least the next few years, Grammer will be returning to his alma mater for a different reason. A member of the Litchfield Police Department since 2003, Officer Grammer is the newest member of the Litchfield School District family as the district’s new school resource officer.
“I wanted to get more into changing the culture of kids’ view toward law enforcement,” said Officer Grammer, who was the city’s K9 officer for ten years. “Everyone loved the dog, but now I want to be that mentor that the kids can come to if they need help. If there’s something they won’t tell the teacher or principal, something they’re embarrassed about, maybe they’ll tell me. I want to be that figure they’re not afraid to approach.”
Grammer is already off to a good start with that. He and wife Dana have a 15-year-old son, Easton (“he just got his driver’s permit the day after his birthday, Nov. 4), who is a freshman at Litchfield High School.
Grammer has also been a JFL coach in Litchfield and will be coaching the running backs at the high school level this spring.
Add in dozens of K9 demonstrations and being active in the community and Grammer has made dozens, if not hundreds of connections with kids in the district already.
“I always tell kids when I drive through their neighborhood to flag me down and say hi,” Grammer said. “I just want to be approachable.”
That is part of the goal of the grant, the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program according to Police Chief Kenny Ryker.
“The goals of this program will be to strengthen the relationship between the police department and the youth of our community, to provide security within the school’s facilities and to assist in mentoring and educating the students of the Litchfield School District,” said Chief Ryker.
Grammer said that while he will still be in full uniform, he believes his demeanor and personality, along with his connection to the kids will make him approachable.
The job isn’t all about making connections though. It’s also about school safety. Grammer went through a week-long active shooter incident training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA, which taught him proper procedure to clear rooms, enter doorways in active shooter situations and identify shooters.
“They do it right. They had actors come in, screaming, yelling, running down the halls. Gunfire was going off. Alarms were going off,” Grammer explained. “You had to go down the hall, clearing rooms, and watch each person go by because a shooter could be in that group. It was pretty intense.”
Next week, Grammer will be in Hoffman Estates, outside of Chicago, for certification from the National Association of School Resource Officers. After that, he’ll soon be on the job, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., plus other games and events that may require his presence.
Ultimately, Grammer feels like the partnership between the district and the police department is going to be a good one for both parties and for the community as a whole.
“With my organization and enthusiasm, I feel like they can just tell me the direction that they want to go and I can take them there,” Grammer said.