Coronavirus has brought Lowry many changes. New schedules, half-sized classes, and the constant use of a mask. While these can all be viewed as unfavorable, let’s focus on the positive. About a month before school started, Officer Ken Whittaker began a new job. As the new Student Resource Officer (SRO). Officer Whittaker has had numerous jobs before becoming an SRO.
“I was at the hospital for ten years before I came to the police department,” said Whittaker. “I was the captain of operations for the EMS. Back in 2013, we started a program called police paramedic, and the young man who was working for me over at the ambulance joined the police department. So when he went into nursing school, Eric Silva called and asked me if I'd like to lateral [transfering to a similar job] over.”
He even worked on the swat team before he began his new job at the highschool. Whittaker is a licensed paramedic; this means he not only did all the training to become an officer, but he had previous certifications in the problematic medical field as well.
“So January first of 2017, I left the ambulance, and I went to the Winnemucca Police Department full time,” said Whittaker. “At the end of January for 17 weeks I went to Carson City to post. It wasn't bad. I mean you have to live down there.”
Officer Whittaker didn't choose jobs for the faint of heart; not only was the training grueling but the experiences as well. Whittaker realizes that these public service jobs’ stresses might not be the same but can take the exact toll.
“On the medical side, the 911 side you're running the ambulance, you're running the rescue and off-road rescues,” said Whittaker. “You're dealing with sick and injured people all the time. Versus law enforcement, you're dealing with the law. You still come across people who are having a bad day, and sometimes they get worse when we get involved, and sometimes they get better.”
Whittaker does feel that his previous training has helped him along in his officer training.
“I think the training in public safety I've had over the years I had before taking this on helped; Because I've had a broad knowledge,”said Whittaker.
Officer Whittaker isn't just all work and no play. When he gets to spend time away from work, he will find out about his family and what he usually does with his time off.
“I'm married. I have three kids of my own and two step-children,” said Whittaker. “They are all grown and out of the house, and I have three grandchildren. Now that the kids are grown, my wife and I have evenings off together to do basically whatever we want.”
Officer Whittaker hopes to make a great impression at the school. He hopes that the young people he talks to will leave knowing these lessons.
“Respect yourself and respect others, ” said Whittaker. “Life is not easy. The more you put into it now, the easier your decisions will be in the future. Ask questions and listen.”