Bucksport Officer Chris Strives to Develop Meaningful Relationships
BUCKSPORT – If you looked in an encyclopedia (remember that?) For a definition of school resources manager, you might see the smiling face of Chris McCrillis, school resources manager at Bucksport.
Agent Chris, as the students call him, has an office in high school but works in all of the schools.
“I really live for this job,” said McCrillis, who was the school resources manager for the cities of Newport and Searsport before Bucksport hired him.
The former Vermont State Soldier reads stories to children in the younger grades and teaches students about bicycle and walking safety as well as internet safety. It teaches high school students the intermediate requirements for a driver’s license.
But, this is only an instruction. Students now know in McCrillis’ sophomore that they can take him aside and ask him questions or share a concern about something going on at home or elsewhere.
“This position is not just about law enforcement,” McCrillis said. “It’s really an affair. It’s all encompassing. I have to be that counselor, that social worker. Sometimes I just have to be an ear to listen.
“Obviously I’m there if anything happens,” McCrillis said. “Your child will be safe when I am here. “
Being a dad helps. McCrillis is a father of two and is engaged. His fiancee has a daughter the same age as his youngest son, 10 years old.
McCrillis has been a police officer for 24 years. He attended the University of Norwich, which is the oldest private military college in the United States. Vermont State Police gave a presentation at the school during his freshman year, which impressed McCrillis and he was hired shortly after graduation.
“I just had this mindset that this is what I want to do,” McCrillis said. The Pittsfield native worked as a soldier in Vermont for 12 years, but wanted to return to Maine.
McCrillis said he never intended to work as a school resources manager and tried to decline the offer.
“I said no.'”
The chef said, “You can do it,” recalls McCrillis.
And that is what he did.
While in the Searsport Police Department, the Chief came up with the idea of a rewards program for the students, which saw them drive to school in the police car. The program was extremely popular with the community, he said, and was featured on WABI-TV5.
There is also an underlying community connection with the arrangement of school resource officers.
Yes, McCrillis looks after the kids most of the time. But, he is on patrol during the school holidays and answers calls for help at other times.
“So when I respond to a burglary or something, a parent will say, ‘Oh, I know you, you’re Agent Chris,’” and there is already a report, he said.
“Bucksport is a phenomenal department,” said McCrillis. “They have been very supportive of this program.
RSU 25 Superintendent Jim Boothby said, “It’s about building relationships and he’s doing a good job with that.
“I love our ORS program,” said the superintendent. “It’s a different pair of eyes. This is another person who can work with the students. It adds depth to our security planning and the way we handle crisis planning. “
“His ability to build relationships with students is exceptional,” said Boothby. “Thanks to him, we gain the upper hand very quickly. “
McCrillis said, “I’m really passionate about this job. I think it’s so valuable. I think he has so much potential.