Johnstown’s first full-time School Resource Officer completes first six months at GJSD

a police officer

Johnstown Police Department Officer Kerri Hauser is the first full-time school resource officer to be embedded into the Greater Johnstown School District.

Johnstown Police Department Officer Kerri Hauser joined the Greater Johnstown School District as its first full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) at the start of the 2023-24 school year. In just six short months, she has immersed herself into the GJSD community and become an invaluable member of the District.

Officer Hauser is a very visible fixture at Johnstown High School, where her office is located and she is primarily based. With her patrol car parked outside of the main office Monday through Friday, she starts each school day greeting students as they enter the building. Throughout the day, she can be found mingling and chatting with students in the common areas of the school in between classes, and during their lunch periods. 

Hauser said the relationship building and informal conversations with students have proven to be a critically important part of her job as an SRO.

“My number one priority as an SRO is to ensure the safety of students and staff,” Hauser said. “Being onsite, I am able to stop any threats that may occur, and respond to emergency situations in a matter of seconds. Working behind the scenes to deter crime and violence is just as important. Through my daily interactions with students, I am able to gather information about situations that have the potential to become violent and resolve the issues before they happen,” she added.

a woman kneels down to speak with a student who is sitting at a table in a cafeteriaOther responsibilities include serving as a liaison between the District and the JPD; supporting Principal Scott Hale with discipline issues when needed; serving as a member of the District’s SEAL team, Safety Team, and Student Response Team (SRT);  assisting the District with compliance of the state’s workplace violence prevention program; assisting with safety drills throughout the year; providing expertise and insight to the District’s safety plans; and accompanying staff on home visits to students who are not showing up to school.

“This position allows me to wear many hats. It allows me to be a mentor, an informal counselor, sometimes a tutor, and even a coach,” Hauser said. 

a police officer poses with a student as they both give a "thumbs up" gestureOne of the first things that Officer Hauser does each morning is check the police logs from the night before to see if any Johnstown students had interactions with police while school was not in session. “If I see that a student had an encounter with a police officer the night before, I will usually check in with the student first thing in the morning and do any follow-ups that might be needed,” she said.

Hauser said her work as an SRO has also proven to be very beneficial to her colleagues in their dealings with juveniles outside of school. “When a crime occurs I am usually able to identify those involved, and provide helpful background information to my fellow officers. When a juvenile goes missing, I might have information on who the individual hangs out with and where — sometimes better information than a guardian would have.” 

It didn’t take long for Officer Hauser to transition from a first-time SRO navigating a new partnership between the school and JPD, to a full-fledged member of the PK-12 school community. 

While primarily based at JHS, Officer Hauser manages to maintain visibility throughout the District and often pops into classrooms to give presentations on law enforcement career opportunities and talks to younger students about topics like stranger danger and internet safety.  She handed out candy at this year’s Trunk-Or-Treat event at Warren Street Elementary, hosted a “Coffee with Cops” event as a reward for deserving high school students, invited her fellow officers in to make holiday cards with students at Pleasant Ave., participated in the elementary Color Run, dressed up as pop star Rhianna for a group performance at a lip sync battle contest at the high school, and is even serving as a volunteer assistant coach and mentor for the girls basketball program.

a woman throws a splash of color onto a child during a color run a police officer poses with a child dressed as a police officer for Halloween, as they both salute a police officer poses next to a student who is dressed up like her

three adults pose with several children in front of a police car, after completing a color run. a woman stands next to a man in a gymnasium as they coach a team from the sidelines

So how did Officer Hauser end up at the Greater Johnstown School District?

Hauser attended neighboring Gloversville High School, where she was a stand-out basketball player. She took those basketball skills to Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, where she was a member of the women’s basketball team and studied Early Childhood Education. 

“I always knew that I wanted to enter a helping profession, as I come from a family of nurses,” Hauser said. While she originally thought she’d become a teacher, law enforcement came across her radar while she was in college. After committing to the challenge, Hauser left Newburgh after one year and returned closer to home. She transferred to FMCC where she continued to play collegiate basketball and ultimately completed an associate’s degree in general studies.

She has been a police officer for almost three years. Her career started with the county, before transferring to become an officer with the Johnstown Police Department about a year ago. When the idea of adding an SRO at Johnstown came about, Hauser said it was something that immediately piqued her interest.

“I loved being a police officer, but I was still missing something,” she said. “Being an SRO is allowing me to enhance my police work by combining it with my love of working with children, and giving me the chance to be the kind of role model that I have always strived to be.”

“Everyday is different and comes with new challenges, but it allows me to grow as an officer, as well as an individual and that’s what I love about this position the most. My transition into the Johnstown community has been a very rewarding experience and has ensured me that I made the right decision on my career path,” she said.

Getting to Know SRO Hauser:

– Officer Hauser grew up in Gloversville and is the daughter of Lori and Michael Hauser. She has one sister, Katie.

– In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her family and her boyfriend, coach and play basketball, and bake.

– Officer Hauser enjoys baking specialty cakes and macarons!

– She loves country music. Currently, Cody Johnson holds her #1 artist spot.

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