Kindergarten students often rush up to the police officers they see just to say, “hi” or even “thank you.” Many want to dress as police officers and look to them as role models.
That’s a connection that Cobb Schools Police Lieutenant Michael Wilson wants to maintain with Cobb students. He wants to continue those relationships even after the students say goodbye to elementary school, start to navigate middle school, or walk on to a high school campus as freshmen for the first time.
That’s why the Cobb Schools police officer helped produce and grow the “Concerned COPS Program” in schools.
As part of the mentoring program, police officers, like Lt. Wilson, help students develop skills to better communicate with persons of authority.
“I feel that I can make a difference in some of these kids’ lives. It is my desire to teach as many as I can about life. The school district gives me that opportunity,” explained Lt. Wilson.
Lt. Wilson and the mentoring program aim to help students understand the impact of their actions and how their actions may result in authority figures, like police officers, stepping in.
He wants to establish an open dialogue with all students and answer the questions they have, strengthening the confidence the students and community have in public safety officials.
Lt. Wilson and his fellow officers have mentored more than 300 students so far and are finalizing plans for more upcoming sessions.
“Our Concerned Cops Program is one small way that we can give something to the kids we serve and protect,” the veteran police officer added.
Mentoring students provides Lt. Wilson with many fond memories. He is especially proud when he succeeds at reaching and establishing a rapport with students who may be associated with gangs.
Before Lt. Wilson joined the Cobb Schools Police Department, he served as a member of the Atlanta Police Department. Over his decades of service, he saw a lot of young people who were killed or sent to jail and he wants to stop that from happening to the students he meets.
After he retired from Atlanta PD, he wanted to become a teacher like his wife who now has served in Cobb Schools for nearly 30 years. He wanted to help students in the same school district where his own kids graduated.
However, instead of spending the time in front of a class of students, Lt. Wilson discovered his path to help students was to join the Cobb Schools Police Department where he could build positive relationships with students.
He served at Wheeler High School and Harrison High School as a campus police officer before transitioning to his current role in the Cobb Schools Police Department headquarters. Because he wanted to maintain a direct connection with students, he helped develop Cobb’s Concerned Cops Program to mentor students across the school district.
For his mentoring work, the veteran Cobb Schools police officer was nominated for the Cobb Chamber’s 2019 Public Safety Award and was recently recognized during the Chamber’s Public Safety Appreciation breakfast. Combined with his time from Atlanta PD, Lt. Wilson has more than 30 years of service as a police officer.
According to his nomination, “Lieutenant Michael Wilson is a perfect example of what an outstanding leader should represent. He promotes a positive example…He is supportive to his peers and is eager to assist or find solutions to all issues which may arise.”
Part of Lt. Wilson’s success with students is due to his ability to build relationships. It’s a skill that dates to his time with the Atlanta PD where he served as the Assistant Team Lead of the Hostage Negotiation. He learned how to build trust and rapport with those who are struggling and facing difficult circumstances.
As an Atlanta Police Officer, he climbed to the top of a crane hundreds of feet in the sky above Buckhead. He spent six hours at the top of crane negotiating with a suspect who refused to come down.
That’s the type of dedication and commitment Lt. Wilson brings to Cobb Schools.
He may not be a teacher in a classroom, but he and his fellow members of the Cobb Schools Police Department help students succeed every day.
He cares. The students know it. The teachers and staff know it.
Lt. Wilson is Cobb. His family is Cobb. Cobb is home, and he has no plans to leave.
For information on how Cobb Schools police officers, like Lt. Wilson and his team, keep students safe visit CobbShield.com.