Edmond’s Officer of the Year: Demetrius Kirk
Edmond Police officer Demetrius Kirk has seen the worst of crimes, but he finds the best in people. Following a deep desire to improve the lives of youths, he eagerly sought the job of the School Resource Officer at Boulevard Academy. Now, he’s been recognized as Edmond’s Officer of the Year.
“The overall goal is the safety and security of everyone in the building, both kids and staff,” said Officer Kirk, “but I rarely do law enforcement. I spend more time building relationships with the kids.”
Officer Kirk’s approach toward working with high schoolers at the alternative school is inspired by his prior career as a counselor. He believes that his influence is stronger if he first gets to know students one-on-one.
“I want these students to be better people, so I sit and talk to them about life, not laws,” Officer Kirk said. “Once we have rapport and trust, I can shoot them straight about policing. I firmly believe in holding people accountable. Even if they mess up and I have to correct them, they know I care. So, I write them a ticket, and then we can respectfully have a conversation about what happened.”
Originally from Tulsa, Officer Kirk first worked as a counselor at Oklahoma’s only maximum-security institution for juveniles. “I’ve always had a passion for working with youth in the community, and these kids were dealing with serious crimes, like armed robbery and murder,” said Officer Kirk. “When that facility closed down, I moved into traditional probation and parole work at the Oklahoma City Department of Corrections. Then I became an investigator, covering rape and murder cases, but it was unfulfilling. I felt like I could make a bigger difference working with people.”
Six years ago, Officer Kirk joined the Edmond Police Department so that he could have more community involvement, but his true calling came two years ago when he was selected to work in the school system. “I love my job! I wake up with a smile on my face. Boulevard has amazing teachers and an administration that really cares. I’m having a great time.”
Off the clock, Officer Kirk initiated the Law Enforcement Athletics Program, a volunteer service project focused on teaching discipline to young people through boxing. “Boxing is about being disciplined. If you talk to any professional boxer, they are peaceful and calm people; they aren’t wild fighters when they leave the gym. Boxing isn’t a hobby, it’s a lifestyle that requires dedication, health and training. The Fraternal Order of Police has supported the project, and hopefully after COVID, we can begin a summer youth police academy, too.”
According to Police Chief JD Younger, “If anyone ever doubts how contagious kindness can be, they need to spend time with Demetrius Kirk. His positive, empathetic approach to life adds tremendous value to the culture of the Edmond Police Department and the lives of the citizens he serves. In a time when it is easy to get distracted with all that is wrong in the world, Demetrius helps me see all that is good in Edmond.”
“Proactive community-action projects cultivate human beings,” said Officer Kirk. “You don’t write kids a ticket, tell them to sign, and send them down the road. You talk! It’s what I do because young people mean that much to me.”