TEMPLE, Texas — Police officers go through hours and hours of training to protect and serve in any situation.
However, teaching students protons, electrons and neutrons during a Pre-AP science course is not typical police work.
“I basically just went through and talked about when it was discovered and who discovered it and things like that,” said Temple ISD Police Resource Officer Undrea Mitchell.
Meet Officer Mitchell.
“When I heard her calling out I said what kind of class is it," he said. "She said 'it’s Pre-AP Science.' I said well that can’t be difficult because science is my thing."
Last month, Mitchell offered to step in as a substitute teacher at Travis Science Academy when a teacher had to suddenly leave.
“When I did it some kids thought I was coming in to talk about one of the other classes," he said. "Then when they saw me taking role they were like: ‘Are you our substitute? And I was like yes,'” Mitchell said. “Now they asked me: 'Are you gonna be subbing in our class again?'”
It was his first time teaching a science class, but Mitchell is used to teaching outside the classroom, often telling students about the dangers of social media, the Bill of Rights and other subjects over his three years patrolling Travis.
“You have to have that special hunt to jump in there," Jackson said. "I love my kids and Travis, so it was pretty easy."
Several former students like Patrick Arryn and Terris Goodwin remember Mitchell working with the school, even before he had a badge.
“My first interaction was at 17 with him," Goodwin said. "He is just a great person, and I can see no one better than him to act in that role."
“It was time when I could see an officer give customer service to students,” said Arryn.
Arryn, Goodwin and Mitchell say it is important for all officers to build relationships with the next generation.
“The more opportunities that officer's gonna have to interact with members of community, especially the youth in our community, in a positive way and a safe space, they can really get to see you the community members as who they are,” said Goodwin.
“I look at it as I am one of the last kind of venues for them as they go to high school, and if I can reach out, if it’s just touching one of them, that’s a bonus for me,” Mitchell said.
Has Officer Mitchell caught the teaching bug?
He said right now he’s gonna stick to his day job. However, he’s always ready to step up and make a connection with students at Temple ISD.