Kickin’ It With Killebrew

New SRO Trades High-Speed Chases for Hallway High Fives


Photo by Callie Copeland

SRO Ray Killebrew picks up Wolfpack reporter, senior Jalen Gomez. Killebrew is from Inks Lake, TX and is a retired officer that became the school’s SRO this year. “I really enjoy it over here,” Killebrew said. “Everyone has greeted me with open arms–the staff, as well as the kids that go to school here. I honestly couldn’t be happier with the move.”

Callie Copeland, Reporter

Every morning, as students strap on their backpacks, Officer Ray Killebrew puts on his badge. Originally from Inks Lake, Texas, Killebrew now works here as the full-time School Resource Officer after making what he said was one of his best career moves yet.

“I really enjoy it over here,” Killebrew said. “Everyone has greeted me with open arms–the staff, as well as the kids that go to school here. I honestly couldn’t be happier with the move.”

Unlike the rural community that he began his career as an officer in, Killebrew said that Cedar Park presented much more opportunity for him.

“I saw the potential for the city to grow and expand, so I applied,” Killebrew said. “When I got hired here, I think I was the fifteenth or sixteenth officer, now we are 100 plus.”

Killebrew said that along with being a part of the area’s growing police force, he found that the community was supportive of him from the start.

“There is a lot of support here from our citizens and the school district that I do not think you would get in a lot of different cities,” Killebrew said. “Coming from different areas where I can see how public safety is treated and things like that, they are very supportive here.”

Killebrew said that being an SRO is much more involved than just being a “security guard” for the school. Each day, he drives the many trails around campus, talks to visitors as they come in and has to be an enforcer of rules at school. All these things, he said, are to ensure that the students are safe while they learn.

“When I am not doing this, which takes a lot of my spare time, I try to keep as involved as I can here in my community.

— Officer Killebrew

“This is not just going out and doing enforcement,” Killebrew said. “There is a lot of social work involved: mentoring, counseling and things of that nature.”

When he is not driving the trails or counseling students in his office, Killebrew said that he loves to volunteer at the local YMCA, teaching martial arts and coaching volleyball.

“When I am not doing this, which takes a lot of my spare time,” Killebrew said. “I try to keep as involved as I can here in my community.”

Before retiring and becoming an SRO, Killebrew worked as a police officer across the central Texas area in Burnet, Marble Falls and downtown Austin. As an officer, he worked in narcotics, the SWAT team and he said that he even took part in several adrenaline-filled car chases. With the unpredictable schedule that comes with police work, Killebrew said that he had to make sacrifices to do the job.

“Search warrants and things like that happened at 2 or 3 a.m. in the morning, sometimes 10 p.m., five in the morning, it really just depended,” Killebrew said. “And when you are as much as a family person as I am with my kids, I like to be at home and like to do stuff with them. It was a difficult job to be able to balance that.”

While his experience sounds similar to what people may watch on television shows and in movies, Killebrew said that there are major differences in the timing of the job. The weeks worth of surveillance and action are condensed into 30-minute, action-packed episodes.

“It is an hour of complete boredom and driving around looking for stuff,” Killebrew said. “Then, all of a sudden, it is five minutes of adrenaline-rushing terror; we get a bank robbery, we get a pursuit or somebody shoots at us.”

There are a lot of discrepancies in how the media portrays the police and what the police really do, Killebrew said, especially having to do with police brutality. Killebrew said he notices the stigma against police officers and said that he recognizes that police officers receive more scrutiny due to the nature of their profession. He also said that for the most part, officers try to do the right thing.

“There are bad officers out there, do not get me wrong,” Killebrew said. “Just like there are bad teachers and bad truck drivers–there’s bad everything. The problem is that we get stuck in the media’s scrutiny more than those other positions.”

Over all else, Killebrew said that he wants everyone to know that most of his peers in the force are good people who do their jobs well.

“We’re not looking to go taze somebody or violate someone’s civil rights,” Killebrew said. “If I can make it through the day without having to put anybody in jail or go hands-on, you know, I think I’ve accomplished what I want to for that day.”

Killebrew said he encourages the students to get to know him, and will always be there to give out fist bumps and friendly hellos in the hallway.