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Waco ISD officer talks building trust with students

Posted at 7:16 PM, Mar 21, 2024

WACO, Texas — Waco ISD officer Ryan Mason and Sargent Larry Martinez shared tips on building strong, healthy relationships with students, and how it affects students like Xiara Berry.


Each morning, Officer Ryan Mason greets the Waco High student body.

“When you build that cohesion, when you build that repor, when you have students, even staff members who want to come speak with me, it’s a great feeling,” said Waco ISD Officer Ryan Mason.

This is a feeling that doesn’t come easy when bridging that relationship between law enforcement and students.

“A lot of people don’t understand the rules, the laws, they don’t really understand it, so to have somebody who’s considered this scary big guy, to have them as a mentor in a way, it makes everyone comfortable,” said Senior Class President Xiara Berry.

But there’s a fine line between being firm and being a buddy that can’t be crossed.

“Yes, I’m not your friend, but I can help you better than a friend could,” Officer Mason said.

This is something that Waco ISD Police Sargent Larry Martinez stands by — making sure the relationships made with students are trustworthy from day one.

“To be able to make those connections with those students, even at an older age is really encouraging because it shows the they trust us, at least a little bit to be comfortable enough to come to us and talk to us,” Sargent Martinez said.

Trusting one another and keeping the lines of communication open is important, all while making students feel safe.

“It’s good to see, as a black kid, seeing that stuff in the media, that there are good officers, there are a lot of good officers,” Berry said.