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How an HCPS Student Resource Officer is helping mentor students at Dover Elementary

August 15, 2019 - Employee Excellence

Pedro Arroyo had always wanted to work in law enforcement.

“I was a police officer in Puerto Rico from 2001-2003,” said Arroyo. “I currently still serve in the U.S. Army as an infantryman, at this point I’m in the Puerto Rico National Guard and I went to the police academy in the criminal justice academy at Osceola in Kissimmee.”

Aside from his career has an officer, he helps bring smiles to thousands of kids at Disney World. Arroyo has worked at the park for 16 years portraying different Disney characters.

He wanted to bring the same joy to students in Hillsborough County. That is when he decided to become a Student Resource Officer.

“I was given the opportunity to work at Dover and I’m really happy to be here,” he said.

But Officer Arroyo isn’t a regular SRO, he’s a cool one! By coming up with different techniques, he is helping making a difference in students lives.

“Right off the bat in the morning, the social worker and I have started implementing music,” said Arroyo. “So, we dance and welcome them into the school at the entrance and that has made them want to be here a little bit more.”

Once he showed students that they can trust him, he saw many of them blossom!

“I have taken it upon myself  to also mentor some of the kids,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of ‘can’t save them all but you can save one’ but I’m also a firm believer that everyone at least deserves a chance to be saved.”

Officer Arroyo also cares about the community surrounding Dover Elementary, making it a priority to learn their native language from Guatemala -- K’iche’.

“I can interact with the parents and that way I can also help the staff as well,” he said. “It’s been tremendously helpful to be able to do that. It is something that you do on your own time, obviously, it is not required of you but if you really care about your community, you will take the time to do something that in 30 seconds can change a life. I suggest to people to take a little bit of time to make that difference.’

Lastly, he credit Hillsborough County Public Schools for helping him grow as an officer.

“The best part is that our supervisors will take the time and come up to you and correct inefficiencies and do it in a manner like they are helping you out,” he said.  “You can’t put words into that where you actually have a supervisor come out to your site and help you out. It is such a great feeling because you know that they care, that makes us officers happy and therefore we can conduct our business in our schools and make everyone else happy.”

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