Meet Officer Rafferty!
Officer Chris Rafferty has a very small office. It’s about half the size of an average EGHS classroom. But according to Officer Rafferty, it used to feel even smaller.
“When I went here – I graduated in 1991 – this used to be the main office for The Spectrum…So just imagine a horde of kids crowded around in here, trying to print out each paper copy of the newspaper.”
Nevertheless, when I stepped into his office for this interview, it felt homey – probably because of all the pictures. On his bulletin board were photos of his girlfriend (a teacher in Massachusetts) and her high school junior daughter.
There was another framed photo on his desk – this one was taken when Officer Rafferty met NASCAR driver Kyle Busch.
“I’m a huge racing fan,” the officer told me. (That explains the “2017 New Hampshire” Matchbox car on his desk.)
Other than that, the room was decorated with potted plants, a patterned carpet near the door, and a Himalayan pink salt crystal on his desk. On the desk lamp to his right was a “Spread The Word To End The Word” pin. A few props and shirts from last year’s Airband were stored in the back as souvenirs.
Officer Rafferty has been passionate about serving East Greenwich and Rhode Island for some time. In fact, he’s lived in East Greenwich for his entire life. He went to CCRI for a degree in law enforcement, then to RIC for justice studies. Then in 1996, he officially joined the East Greenwich Police Department. He’s been working for them ever since. And now, he’s the Student Resource Officer at East Greenwich High School.
As the school’s SRO, he serves as a “law-related counselor and educator” – meaning he helps kids with all sorts of problems, ranging from substance abuse to cyberbullying. He patrols traffic in the school parking lot, making sure that both school buses and students’ cars are where they need to be. He helps students register their cars for the parking lot. He makes presentations for Health classes on the effects of drunk driving and distracted driving, and he’s currently a mentor for several senior projects on careers in law enforcement. He also runs the Facebook and Twitter accounts for his police union (East Greenwich Police IBPO #472).
Despite all of these responsibilities, Officer Rafferty wants students to know that he is never too busy to help a kid out. “My door is alway open if you want to discuss any problems in your life,” he says. “I’m not just here to be the mean cop.”
By Ariel Finkle