TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka Schools District will have some new faces in the hallways, but they’re not students or teachers.
Instead, they are two men who will be dedicated to protecting students and staff. In light of the recent school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, now more than ever, they are ready to get to work.
Officer Matt Ford and Matt McClimans are the Topeka Public Schools newest resource officers.
Both having over 20 years of experience in law enforcement, they’re more than ready to serve and protect students and staff within the district.
“My main function as a Topeka Public Schools officer is the safety and security of staff and students at the school,” Topeka Public Schools Resource Officer, Matt McClimans said. “You know that going into the job and you’re prepared for that.”
Before joining on with Topeka Public Schools, Officer McClimans was a resource officer for eight years before retiring as a detective with the Special Victims Unit.
Officer Ford spent 10 years in the Army. He also worked in Crime Scene Investigations and as a Patrol Officer. While both are more than qualified to step in and protect, McClimans says after Monday’s school shooting in Nashville, it’s not just them that are prepared.
“No one wants anything like that to happen, McClimans said. “I know that my law enforcement coworkers and our partner agencies out there, TPD, SSO, we’ll respond accordingly if there’s ever a critical incident, I have no doubt about that.”
The high confidence doesn’t come without a lot of practice. Officer McClimans and Ford along with other Topeka Police Officers have all been trained to respond to situations like the one that took place in Nashville.
“We’ve gone to vacant school buildings and they set up actors that would be in classrooms and you had no idea before you got there what was going on,” Topeka Public Schools Resource Officer Ford said. “They would give you a mock scenario and say this is what’s happening, this is how you’ve been dispatched, go do your thing.”
For officer Ford, now more than ever, Monday’s tragic event hits close to home.
“I have five children,” Ford said. “It’s always been important for me, the safety of the schools as it was. I would always say if anything ever happens call me and i’ll be there. But it’s different now because I will be there.”
Officer McClimans has not yet started his duty as the district’s new resource officer. Officer Ford has already started bouncing around from school to school as needed.