School Resource Officer Devoted To Students, Families
Publish Date 08/22/2022
For Holly Gibbs, one singular high school experience led to a million of them and counting.
Gibbs was a high school senior in western Illinois needing to fulfill a job shadow requirement. With her mom, she drove more than three hours to Chicago to shadow her cousin who was a detective. That ride-along and day stuck with Gibbs. She knew she would be a police officer.
Now in her 19th year at KCPD, Gibbs is a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Central High School and like the students, she’s filled with anticipation for the new school year.
“We spend a year forming bonds with kids, then we lose a group of them,” Gibbs said. “Here we are again at ground zero with a whole new group, so it’s an exciting day.”
SROs have a great opportunity to help youth during influential years. Gibbs points out that she and her partner build trust and relationships with students that span their entire high school careers. These relationships grow, extending to families and the community.
“We build trust so that they feel comfortable confiding in us when there are issues at home or something going on at school,” Gibbs said. “We mentor them and help them work through the emotions.”
Before arriving at Central, Gibbs spent time as a patrol officer in Metro Patrol Division and in Investigations, handling domestic violence, sex crimes, and robbery cases. She’s in her 7th year at Central which has included unexpected stints as an assistant basketball coach and head volleyball coach.
Pinched on time, Gibbs had to step down from coaching when she began fostering children. One foster child was a student of hers at Central. Today, she cares for three foster children all three-years-old and younger.
“I’ve always wanted to adopt or foster, I can’t tell you why,” Gibbs explained. “It’s honestly the greatest thing I’ve ever done. It’s all about giving love to someone and being a part of someone’s life and being a positive impact.”
Gibbs stays involved all year, including summer. With her fellow SROs, Gibbs helps run Teens In Transition (TNT), a program aimed at giving at-risk students life and job readiness skills. In and out of the classroom, the officer is grateful for being a foster mother and an SRO.
“It’s a priceless job,” Gibbs said of fostering. “Just like at school, you get an opportunity to be a part of a kid’s life and try to create positive and healthy relationships.”