Information submitted by Newark Police Nixle Alerts—
Congratulations to School Resource Officer Ryan Johnson for being awarded the 2013 Officer of the Year. Ryan had a growth-filled year in 2013 that included taking on full ownership of his assignment as School Resource Officer (SRO) to Newark Memorial High School. During this time, Ryan has balanced his demanding, multi-faceted workload in expert fashion. His work ethic and dedication to our organization, his team mates and the school is second to none.
Ryan is an exemplary officer that capably performs his SRO duties with a positive attitude. Similarly to the commitment Ryan has shown to the SRO program, Ryan’s passion for his role as a member of the department’s Honor Guard team has been evident. Members of the team have cited Ryan’s military experience as one of the key components to the success of the team.
During 2013, Ryan investigated 154 cases stemming from incidents including weapons violations, assaults, thefts and burglaries in and around Newark Memorial High School; successfully solving over 30 of those that had any viable leads and making appropriate arrests in 29 of the cases. Many of the cases involved multiple witnesses, victims and suspects therefore requiring substantial follow through to get to the truth.
When not following up on such matters, Ryan maintained ever vigilant over his school, and during one such opportunity, Ryan took note of a suspicious male across the street from the school. Ryan took a position of surveillance until he observed the male perform a hand-to-hand transaction, ultimately stopping the male and arresting him for drug sales. The 41-year-old male was wanted for an extraditable robbery out of Maryland.
His handling of cases stemming from within or around the school, has substantiated the level of respect fellow officers have for his work ethic and investigative drive. This level of tenacity has also strengthened the Patrol-SLO-SRO-SET synergy to the point that any request on Ryan’s part for assistance for school events is received with genuine engagement.
Ryan’s proactive attitude has been influential in developing collaborative plans to better protect Newark’s schools against outside dangers. Ryan proved instrumental by assisting with ideas to install security gates and bettering the high school’s Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) surveillance system which was just recently upgraded to over 70 high definition cameras. High quality images from this system have already proved invaluable in identifying a thief responsible for stealing numerous bicycles from within and around the high school.
Based on the feedback from school staff, it is clear that Ryan’s resolve to keep our schools safe has been received as being very valuable and also strengthened our public safety bond with school staff, students as well as parents.
This ability to build strong relationships has been vital in Ryan’s successful role as an SRO and our department’s and the Newark Unified School District’s joint venture into the new, hybrid School Liaison Officer (SLO) program.
During this school year, several officers have commented on how appreciative they are for Ryan’s attentiveness to Patrol calls for service requiring additional resources and his readiness to whole-heartedly get involved. This willingness to assist during critical incidents has placed Ryan in a key position to help on more than one occasion.
Outside of his SRO role, Ryan has volunteered his time to positively represent our law enforcement profession at community events such as a March 2013 Special Olympics fundraiser during which our group raised $1,600 for the Special Olympics athletes. Ryan also demonstrated his team spirit as he joined a group of department members in representing our agency at the September 2013 Tour De Fuzz charity bicycle ride to support police chaplaincy programs.