Unsung Heroes: An everlasting silence of safety in the halls

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Ella Peabody

One of the many silently safe hallways that officer Rohlfer dedicates his time to ensure.

 Halls are ever busy here at Highlands High School (HHS). Students sprint from class to class, their minds fluctuating with thoughts of grades, friendships, games and other extracurricular events, weekend plans, home life, and more. Hovering above the halls—including the many stresses and anxieties buried within—is a source of security—one devoted to the safety of each and every student at HHS.

District officer Rohlfer passes through the school hallways each day, steady, friendly, but also ready to swoop down at any given moment for the rescue or simple assistance depending on someone’s differing needs. That can vary but always involves providing core safety to HHS faculty, and most importantly, students in need.

Rohlfer said his decision to take on such a critical role in the lives of students was based on his desire to make a “daily difference”. 

“I wanted a job where I would be doing something different every day and it would be exciting, while constantly helping make someone’s life a better place. There aren’t many jobs that fit that description better than becoming a police officer”. He then said, when offered the job as a resource officer to the schools, he eagerly accepted given his particular motivation to have an impact on children’s lives. 

And while general student body safety is a crucial component of his work, Rohlfer said that his job involves a vast majority of different things, with some tasks wholly unexpected.  

“In these cases, the most important part is to be available to help students who either don’t have another adult to help them or who need help that falls into the scope of a law enforcement situation. this is sometimes a misconception about my job.”

He said that many people think he’s just there for when students are in trouble, however that’s not the case. 

Rohlfer said he gets to do so much more than just wait for a problem. “I spend much of my day making sure that things are operating around the district in the safest manner possible so that all of our students and staff can feel that they are coming to a place where they are safe every day”. 

He spends large portions of his day helping out students who have run into issues that entail police guidance or intervention, or are just in hard situations that they need help with, he said. 

HHS assistant principal Jennifer Forgy said that the most important part of officer Rohlfer’s job is keeping the students at HHS safe, a most crucial job here at the school because of its role of protection. 

However, like most positions, there are key elements of this vast-spanning job that not many understand. 

Rohlfer fulfills many functions around the school, including legal issues, machine operations, general student concerns and staffing issues.  He also notes that one of the biggest misconceptions about him is that he’s just here to respond to students who are in trouble. “I spend much of my day making sure that things are operating around the district in the safest manner possible so that all of our students and staff can feel that they are coming to a place where they are safe every day.”

“During the day, he is walking the hallways and checking doors, etc; but he is also keeping up to date with lots of emergency training so that he is prepared in the event of an emergency,” Forgy said. “Officer Rohlfer also stays informed regarding the problems in the community so that he can be proactive. He knows a lot of the families and checks in daily to see if there are families or students in crisis and makes sure that we are informed so that we can respond to students who need help.”  

Alert, engaged, and with his strong shielding presence, Officer Rohlfer assumes a hero-like stance, continuously dedicated to his role as our chief security officer. Always ready to help, he walks the hallways, in chaos or in quiet, trying to anticipate the unanticipated but with constant dedication, while also bringing an approachable and understanding component, a heart full of care and compassion for students, especially those who need it the most.