Position: School Resource Officer / D.A.R.E. Instructor
School: Jasper High School
School District: Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools
City, State: Jasper, IN
Jason Knies was nominated by his colleague, Glenn Buechlein.
"It is with the utmost respect that I nominate SRO Jason Knies for the LifeChanger of the Year Award , especially in the realm of school safety and student wellness. I have had the privilege of working side by side with Officer Knies for the past 5 years while serving as assistant principal at Jasper High School," said Buechlein. "Jason impressed me from the first time I met him. He is the consummate professional in all regards. He excels in his role primarily because of his unique ability to effectively communicate with all stakeholders. As we know, all behavior is communication, and he utilizes his skill set to avert or de-escalate countless situations. His proactive mindset and approach are directly linked to his calm demeanor and strong reputation for treating individuals in a fair and consistent manner."
Officer Knies wears many hats in his role as a school resource officer. He has served as a corporation leader in transportation, and it is not uncommon for him to drive routes, extra-curricular and field trips. In this capacity, he uses the opportunity to build relationships with students of all ages. He instructs D.A.R.E. classes and is involved in the HOSA program, serving as a mentor to students interested in pursuing certain fields of study such as forensics. He takes time out of his busy schedule to introduce students to various facets of law enforcement. The students essentially shadow him as he fulfills his daily duties. Additionally, Officer Knies has taken the lead in creating an archery club for students that has grown in popularity. He also offers self-defense classes for school staff and students. There are simply too many things to list, but the point is that he is heavily involved and goes above the call of duty in school related activities.
Officer Knies helped spearhead a program at Jasper High School called, "Law and Let's Order." Students are nominated by classroom instructors or other staff for doing positive things. The nominated students are called to the office and awarded with Above and Beyond T-shirts. Then, the students are asked to write their name on a ticket that is placed in a container. On a monthly basis, a few students are drawn from the container, and they win the opportunity to eat lunch with SRO Knies. This program has proven to be quite popular, and it serves several purposes. The primary goal is to allow students to see and experience SRO Knies in a different light. He wants students to feel comfortable approaching him so that potential dangerous situations can be avoided. He instructs all students to, "See or hear something, say something."
"He is a true family man and is greatly invested in community and civic activities that serve and inspire our youngsters. I honestly do not believe that another individual could possibly do all that he does in a better or more productive manner. He prides himself on his work ethic, integrity and discipline, and these core values are consistently evident by all stakeholders who interact with him on a daily basis," said Buechlein. "His actions truly speak louder than words."