Plainfield school resource officer values connection with students

Plainfield Police Officer Dean Klier (center) after receiving the Wildcat Award at Plainfield Central High School. Klier is serving as a school resource officer for students and staff at the academic building.

Serving as a school resource officer has given Plainfield police officer Dean Klier an appreciation for the struggles of troubled students.

Klier is in his first year as a school resource officer at Plainfield Central High School and he said the experience thus far has been rewarding for him, especially with connecting with students.

Klier calls it a “completely different type of cop job.”

“I’m not driving around town handling calls. I’m walking the halls. I usually got a cup of coffee in my hand and I’m fist-bumping and shaking hands with students.”

At first, the students were hesitant to say hello or shake hands with Klier. He said it likely was because they had never been approached by an officer who was willing to fist bump them or positively learn their name. But that barrier melted away over the school year.

“It’s been really cool, it’s been a positive transition over the year,” Klier said.

Klier has learned that “everybody has a story,” whether it’s “inside the school or on the street.”

The experience has been vital for Klier to help understand how to deal with troubled youths. He said he’s been able to sit down with them and talk through their issues without escalation.

“I usually got a cup of coffee in my hand and I’m fist-bumping and shaking hands with students.”

—  Dean Klier, Plainfield Central H.S. school resource officer

“I really think it’s important to have somebody there that cares and is willing to put that time in and really make that difference. It doesn’t have to be a ticket or court. It could just be that simple talk,” Klier said.

Klier’s efforts as a school resource officer have been recognized. He received the Wildcat Award, named after the mascot for Plainfield Central High School. The award regularly is given to staff members to honor their efforts at the school.

“I didn’t think it would ever come to me, so it was a complete shock,” Klier said.

Klier said he was inspired to become a police officer like his father, who was a commander with the New Lenox Police Department. Klier began with the police department for the Will County Forest Preserve before moving to the Plainfield Police Department in 2020.

Klier said he will continue serving as a school resource officer for Plainfield Central High School for the next three years. After that, either he or someone else will serve the next four years at the school.

Klier said he never considered becoming a school resource officer, but so far it’s been a “really awesome experience.”

“I’m really glad I took the chance,” he said.