Prevention the best cure for ‘Top Cop’

Published 10:27 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

Andre Weaver, a school resource officer at Nansemond River High, has won a Top Cop award. He says he would rather prevent problems in the school community rather than have to deal with problems.

Keeping students safe and assisting them to become law-abiding citizens is all part of the job for an award-winning school resource officer at Nansemond River High School.

Andre Weaver, who started at the school in 1999, received a Top Cop award during a Nov. 3 Hampton Roads Crime Line dinner ceremony.

“It’s almost kind of embarrassing to me to win,” said the police officer of 27 years. “The things I do here I don’t do to receive an award. Really, I just thought I was doing my job.”

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Before becoming a police officer in schools, Weaver spent three years in uniform patrol, five years in special investigations, and about six months in the detective bureau.

He was nominated for the award, which celebrates cops who are committed to building a safer community, by marketing teacher Michele Duncan.

In the nomination letter, Duncan cited Weaver’s various initiatives, focusing on his efforts to educate students about state laws.

The Virginia Rules program set out to “educate young people about Virginia laws and help them become active citizens in their schools and communities.”

Thanks to Weaver’s “excellent job,” students demonstrated a “much greater understanding” of their duties and responsibilities in the workplace by the end of the program.

Two of Weaver’s other initiatives had students driving golf carts around the bus loop to learn about the dangers of texting behind the wheel and, using goggles simulating what a drunken driver might see, drinking and driving.

Just before prom, juniors and seniors attend a mock drunken-driving accident. Weaver arranged for the Nightingale rescue helicopter, Crocker Funeral Home and the Suffolk Police, Crime Scene Investigation and Fire and Rescue departments to take part.

Weaver also organized Christmas stockings for special education students and staged an event to help new drivers plan to purchase their first car.

“The students can go to him and talk to him about any issues that they have, any concerns that they have, even if they have encountered a problem with the law,” Duncan said. “He has an open door policy and the students know that.”

Weaver also has a successful Crime Stoppers program, she said, which helps solve crimes in the school community.

“He keeps us informed of any criminal activity we need to be looking out for such as gang signs, gang drawings, apparel-related colors, drugs and neighborhood issues,” she wrote in the nomination.

“We can also go and see him with any suspicious activity we see in the building.”

Weaver explained his philosophy: “I’d rather prevent it than have to deal with it later.” Being a school resource officer allows him to give back to the community, he said, adding, “ Our children seem to be pretty friendly and above-board.”