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Andrew Reiss

The Thin Line Spotlight: School Resource Officer Andrew Reiss

Writer / Matt Keating
Photography Provided

Andrew ReissAndrew Reiss, a sergeant and school resource officer (SRO) with the Noblesville Police Department, says the SRO program has helped students, teachers and school staff members since the program began.

“The SRO program with Noblesville schools originated over 20 years ago, when the Noblesville Police Department began to assign one officer to the schools to assist with any issues that would arise throughout the day,” Reiss says. “About 11 years ago, the program expanded to include an SRO in the high school, and one at each middle school. This enabled the program to begin to do proactive educational lessons at the elementary and middle school levels.”

The Noblesville Police Department taught the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)  curriculum until four years ago, when their SROs developed their own lessons, and named the program Project Truth.

“This is a wide array of lessons that we teach primarily in the elementary levels that help the kids learn how to handle things like water safety, how to properly call 911, and what to do if they get lost, just to name a few,” Reiss says. “This change to the Project Truth curriculum was made possible when the city passed a referendum for school safety that placed an SRO inside every Noblesville school building.”

Prior to that, the officers would float around different buildings teaching lessons.

“This kept the officers from really being able to develop lasting relationships with the kids,” Reiss says. “We are in our third year of having a fully staffed SRO program in Noblesville. At the middle school and high school levels, the officers teach many different classes in an effort to develop relationships with students.”

This can include discussions in government classes, and assisting math classes with texting and driving lessons, during which students determine how far a car typically goes when a driver is looking down. The lesson has been featured in The Atlantic magazine.

“The individual SROs at the high school and middle school level use their own talents to spend time in classes so they can get to know the students,” Reiss says. “I spend time in the Spanish classes brushing up on my college Spanish, challenging myself to remember math from 20 years ago, or challenging students in the 50-yard dash in gym class.”

Reiss says the role of an SRO is often referred to as a triad concept, with the three components being teacher, informal counselor and law enforcement officer.

“In order to make all of those aspects work, the officer has to have the ability to develop meaningful relationships with the students, and by doing this the students feel comfortable with talking with the SRO about any issue,” Reiss says. “This law enforcement role represents one side of what the SRO does. I would argue that the other two aspects of our job are far more important. When an SRO develops relationships with the students, they are often able to help counsel them through some life issues with family, relationships, depression, traffic tickets, car accidents, etcetera. The role we play in the classroom is in all of the programing we do, to teach students about problems they may face in life.”

Reiss is a 28-year veteran of law enforcement, and began his career in Frankfort, Indiana, in 1994. He joined the Noblesville Police Department in 2006.

“I entered the SRO division in October of 2016,” he says. “I am currently working out of an office at Noblesville High school, and I supervise the resource officers that work in the high school and both Noblesville middle schools. I am responsible for scheduling the security at all the after-school events, as well as the officers that direct traffic for the Noblesville school corporation at various buildings. During the day I spend most of my time working with students at the high school, helping the other SRO that works full time there.”

Janae Mobley, assistant principal of Noblesville High School, says she enjoys Reiss’s positive presence, building relationships with students on a daily basis.

“They see Sergeant Reiss as a trusted adult, and seek out guidance and input,” Mobley says. “I also appreciate his wisdom and insight in daily issues. His heart for serving our kids and community is extremely apparent in all that he does.”

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