VENICE- It’s National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and students at Venice High used it as an opportunity to thank their officers for all they do.  The loud sounds of the Venice Indian band brought School Resource Officers Ruth Terry and Rodrigo Morales to the courtyard for a surprise celebration.  

“I was very surprised and very appreciative of this,” Terry said. “It’s awesome.”

“It completely caught me off guard,” Morales said. ‘It’s not something I was expecting, I was in the office with one of the assistant administrators just working on an investigation, and I was just completely shocked.”

Students say it’s important to let the officers know just what they mean to the school community.

“I always say hi to them every morning,” Kelsey Levering said.  “They smile back, they’re just so friendly and protective.”

“They’re very important because they keep us safe,” Riley Garner said. “And they keep bad things out of the school. They help make sure people know where to go first day of school.”

Students say after Parkland it’s even more important to have officers that help them feel safe in their classrooms.

“It makes me appreciate them a lot more,” Garner said. “Because a lot of stuff has happened in the past year, and I think it would be safer with more SRO’s around, and more security.”

Officers say the students make doing a tough job worth it.

“Every time I make contact with the kids they just welcome me,” Morales said. “And it’s very nice just to be there with them whenever they need something, or just to have a conversation or just talk to them.”

“It’s a family now,” Terry said. “And I love it, and to see the kids start and graduate, it’s what I work here for.”

Students and teachers say the officers will always have a place in the Venice Indian family, and they plan to continue to honor these officers every year Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.