School liaison officer builds many connections in CF schools

Being a resource officer in the Cedar Falls high school is a big amount of work, but school liaison officer Liesel Reimers is here to be equal with students to help them.

Reimers wanted to be the School Resource Officer because “I have always really enjoyed working with kids and am willing to take the extra time to help them learn from mistakes,” she said. She used to work at the Bremwood (juvenle delinquency center) while in college.

“I have a lot of respect for kids because you never know what their home life might be like. This opportunity was something I always wanted to take part in, and it has been a great experience and fit for me,” she said. 

“I also think one of the biggest parts of my role is students understanding I am also a person and have a personality and life beyond work.” She said she loves finding other roles for students to see her outside of her uniform. She coaches softball and has chaperoned, and is now leading a trip of CF students to Europe. 

“I personally have felt that a lot of the functions of my job have gotten easier with time due to my relationships with the students, school staff and families,” she said. She said she stays up to date with trends and keeps up with things kids are interested in. Lot of trends are dangerous— from vandalized bathrooms, smashed floor tile and stolen safety signage—she makes sure these don’t happen at the high school either.

“After three years I appreciate knowing most of the students and having relationships with them to make conversations much easier.” She said she seeks to be an understanding person and wants to help but also keep people safe. Every year she does a week-long event at the Target distribution center where every kindergartener in Cedar Falls comes and has a tour of safety themes. They get to see a police car, fire truck, ambulance, learn about the railroads, electricity from CFU, talk to dispatch, get fingerprinted and learn about bike safety. It is a fun week for little kids to learn. 

“I had a student ask me yesterday if I am just security in the hall, which is not true,” Reimers said. “I love when I am available to stand in the hall during passing periods, say good morning and have conversations with students.”

She said she loves being able to be in the halls to see all the students happy and doing what they’re supposed to do. When she’s not doing that, she always has a lot of paperwork to do, writing reports and making calls to families, and keeping the proper social workers/ DHS in the loop. She handles most of the cases that come out of the district schools. She also helps with home welfare checks, DHS reports, truancy, harassment and drug or alcohol offenses.

She also teaches at all seven elementary schools. She teaches a lesson in fourth grade about bullying, fifth about internet safety, sixth about drugs and seventh about sexting and legal consequences. “There is definitely a mixed emotion of arresting someone and feeling bad, but also understanding they have hurt someone else and you have to keep those safe who cannot protect themselves,” Reimers said. The school often catches students doing bad things, but she is called when the school finds or determines something occurred.

You have to practice to react equally to the amount of the crime. “If someone is just being disrespectful and runs from me, I am not going to chase after them. If you want attention, I won’t give it to you.” She said police officers have to practice to react equally to the amount of crime kids do. She said she wants to help kids learn and remember that their mistakes or actions don’t just go away, and if a kid runs from her then the problem will get pushed to tomorrow with most likely more problems to add.

“I am considered staff, so disrespect can be considered a school consequence, even if it’s not criminal, similar to how you should treat your teachers.”

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