Services, the concept began to spread,
and took hold in Vermont, where most
larger high schools came on board.
“With issues like delinquency, truancy
and drugs, there was a lot of policing
time being spent at schools,” said Chief
Hanley, “and it was decided that it was
time to devote one full officer specifically
to the schools.”
Against that backdrop, Mason,
in the summer of 2009, reported for
duty at the Vermont Police Academy.
The oldest cadet in his class, at 38, he
embarked on a comprehensive 16-week
residential training program. He calls
the experience “hellish,” marked by an
exacting regime and high stress.
“I don’t know if anything I had done
prepared me for that experience at the
academy,” Mason said. “I’d spent my life
studying philosophy, painting, writing
poetry, spending a lot of time outdoors,
traveling. I have deep confidence in who
I am, which allowed me to find some
inner calm in what was really a tempest
of noise and aggression.”
After graduating from the academy,
Mason worked as a patrol officer for the
next two years, on the night shift, and
when the school resource officer position
was created, he moved into that.
Mason’s desk isn’t at a police station.
His professional space is a small cubby
squeezed into a space near the vice
principal’s office at the high school. And
he doesn’t spend much time in a cruiser,
either. He’s usually found roaming the
halls of the 600-student Middlebury
Union High School, although he
occasionally makes an appearance at the
nearby elementary and middle schools.
“I really can only spend lunchtime
with the kindergartners,” Mason said.
“It’s a mob scene when I’m with them.”
As a School Resource Officer, his
primary responsibility is the student
body within the Middlebury school
system, and he breaks down his job
there into three distinct areas.
“I am here for law enforcement,” he