By Andrea Stover
Kent Arter was the School Resource Officer for the high school I attended.
Growing up, I honestly didn't know that I was destined to become a police officer…until one day, which I can still picture perfectly in my mind, it hit me — I just knew. I even said it out loud to my friend.
“I want to be a cop”.
Every day I saw Officer Arter’s cruiser parked somewhere around the school building. He instantly became an extremely positive role model for me during years that, for teenagers, can be a very trying time; a time where we are still finding out who we are as people and what we’re supposed to do in life.
It was his presence that spurred me into discovering the Explorer program within the local police department. My law enforcement life blossomed from there.
Officer Arter was always there for me. Whether it was me stopping by his office to ask him a random police related question, or him waving, smiling, and saying “hello” to me whenever we saw each other around the building, Officer Arter was always there for me when I needed him. Seeing his shiny badge and crisp blue uniform was what always pushed me to stay on the right path and remember that my actions would dictate the ability for me to become a police officer later down the line.
To this day, Kent still doesn’t fully understand why I admire(d) him so much. I have even heard him tell people that he doesn’t know what he did for me as a School Resource Officer. But regardless of that fact, he did a lot for me. He gave me a sense of belonging when I felt like the outcast because, lo and behold, the majority of teenagers dislike generally the police. Try being the kid who everyone knows prefers to spend Saturday nights in the passenger seat of a patrol car rather than running around town pushing boundaries.
No matter what kind of rude or snarky remarks I got from my peers, he was always that shining light that let me know none of it would matter when I finally have a real badge, pounding the pavement to protect and serve. That is why Officer Kent Arter is my police hero.