Waukee High School is only able to operate every single day because of the educators, administrators, and the countless people that run things behind-the-scenes. One of these behind-the-scenes people is School Resource Officer Brian Murra. Students may not even notice him standing to the side of the lunchroom or walking through the hallways making sure that everyone in the school stays safe, but he’s there. Murra does more than that, however, his job is much more than just that.
SRO Brian Murra is in charge of making sure that the school remains safe from outside threats. One of Murra’s responsibilities that students may not be aware of is talking with students. “The surprised look on their face when they say, ‘I didn’t know I could talk to you about that,’” commented Murra. He does a lot of one on one counseling with students as well. Murra elaborated, “If you’re having a bad day and you just have to shout, come in my office and shout, I don’t care. It’s not going to bother me. I would rather you get it out and calm down here then get into a fight out there.”
Recently, however, the number of cases of in-school violence has only increased, whether that’s due to the sheer increase in numbers of students or something else entirely. “It sucks. No one likes to deal with that here… we try to intervene well before everything gets physical,” explained Murra. There isn’t any kind of procedure when it comes to breaking up fights between students, that means there isn’t any rulebook to follow. “That’s just something that we’re always aware of and we have to be cognizant of our surroundings… I wouldn’t place any one person’s safety above everybody else,” he elaborated.
“I think there’s a lot of misconception about how [the students] see me as an enforcer rather than a counselor and trying to be a role model… trying to help guide our young adults to being productive members of society,” Murra added. He believes some of the blame can be attributed to negative coverage on social media. “Are there bad apples in law enforcement? Sure there are. There’s bad cops, there’s bad people in every profession. That’s just the way it is with the media… maybe that didn’t help things,” mentioned Murra.
For anyone that might be interested in a career in law enforcement, Officer Murra has some advice. “You have to be 21 to get hired as a police officer. So when you graduate, go to college, get your four year degree, start applying when you turn 21,” he advised. He continued, “The way city municipalities police is completely different from deputies and completely different from state troopers and the FBI and DCI. And if you want to get into Marshall’s, if you want to do lab work, like CSI… the technology’s there. There’s all kinds of different positions within law enforcement.”
In summary, as an SRO Brian Murra has a lot of responsibilities throughout the day, but when it comes to fights, it’s better to avoid them. It saves him paperwork and saves you the legal trouble. Talk to your counselors, or even talk to Murra. He stated, “Your peer group’s going to change. It’s a fact of life. My graduating class was 55 students. And do you know how many of those students I’ve seen other than my five and ten year reunions? One. And that’s my cousin… no one’s going to care what you did in February of 2019 when you walked away from a fight. No one’s going to remember that in three weeks, no one’s going to remember that next year… you’ve got to look out for yourself and not respond to that situation. We can stop school violence if we all just take a deep breath and come talk to someone about it.”