There are few people in the Severna Park High School community who don’t know the name Officer Swartz.
The school's resource officer is hard to miss with his tall and dominant presence. But it’s Alex Swartz’s smile and beaming friendliness that puts parents at ease and offers students support and companionship.
Swartz, a Severna Park High graduate, is currently in his second year as the school’s resource officer and says his job combines, “a little bit of everything.”
“Of course we are here for police work,” Swartz said. “Anything that entails breaking or enforcing the law. You also come into counseling, mentoring and securing the school.”
During school days, Swartz can rarely be found in his office. He gets to school at 6:30 a.m. to take care of desk work, and spends the day walking around the school and patrolling the halls.
“I try to be out of the office as much as possible,” Swartz said. “I like to be in the cafeteria at lunch time, because that’s when the kids can just talk and you can hear what is going on in their lives.”
From the students who come in to ask questions during the interview, to the teachers that drop by to crack a joke, it is obvious Swartz is well known, well liked and vice versa.
Swartz can’t say enough about how much he enjoys working with the students and mentoring them.
“I enjoy high school just because you are dealing with kids right before they are going to be on their own,” he said. “It’s fun to be in their lives right now when they are molding ideas about what they want to do, who they want to be. The growth I see in them is amazing.”
His Other Passion
One of the only things Swartz talks more passionately about than his students is his work with the police force.
Each year he participates in the Police Unity Tour, which is a 300-mile bike ride from New Jersey to DC. The event honors those who were killed in the line of duty.
Before becoming a resource officer, Swartz worked the roads as a police officer. He was seriously injured by a drunk driver—twice—breaking his back once and his neck twice.
In 2007, he was standing next to his car when a drunk driver crushed Swartz between two cars. And in 2010 he was standing behind his car with the trunk open when he was hit into the trunk.
The experience left him with a profound appreciation for the sacrifices law enforcement officers make, which is why he participates in the Police Unity Tour.
“Being in that position and surviving, I want to give back to families that had a dad, sons, sisters or mothers die on the job,” Swartz said. “They weren’t as fortunate as I was. It means a lot to me to do something to give back to the police department as well.”
Calling Severna Park Home
With his days of patrolling behind him, Swartz plans to call Severna Park High School home for as long as they let him stay—especially now that he feels he’s made a connection with the kids.
“I feel that big time,” Swartz said. “It’s nice when you finally reach some of the kids where they come to me and say ‘I am having a hard time today.’ I have always left the door open. Any kid—it doesn’t matter if they are in trouble, causing trouble, get straight A’s—it doesn’t matter I’m here to help.”
Swartz also spoke of his fondness for the staff. He said many of the teachers live close by, and there is a real sense of community within the school. He says that helps make his job easier and is something he is grateful for.
“I think I am fortunate here,” Swartz said. “I have seen the way this staff works together, and it is amazing. It just seems like everyone is willing to talk and work together. It’s a breath of fresh air to work here.”
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