Welcome to La Follette, Officer Cumley!
By Ava Kaminski
Officer Justin Cumley went to high school at Stevens Point Area Senior High and continues to rep his school by saying “GO PANTHERS!”
After graduating high school Officer Cumley was very interested in teaching zoology and wanted to go into that field. While transitioning into college, his mother forwarded him an article about how the Navy trained dolphins to patrol nearby waters, detect mines and recover lost equipment. He found this extremely interesting and was compelled to join the Navy, in hopes of training dolphins. While he never ended up training the dolphins, he worked with the Gunners Mates and Mastered Arms in the Navy. Those two groups work together to form the Navy's police. Being involved in these areas sparked an interest in becoming a civilian officer.
He went from the Navy to getting an associate's degree at Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids and becoming a police officer in Westbend. He worked in the Westbend area for 7 years and spent some of his time there as an SRO. He moved to the Madison Police Department in 2016 and enjoyed being a patrol officer, where he got to pick what type of calls he went on. Still, he missed working with students and building those types of relationships.
Earlier this year he decided to apply for an SRO position at East, and when Officer Johnson got promoted earlier this winter, he was able to apply for La Follette. When he first started shadowing here he realized there was a tough road ahead. The relationships that students had made with Officer Johnson intimidated him slightly, but he’s ready to step out of his comfort zone and fulfill the expectations that students have.
While at La Follette he hopes to achieve many things. “I hope to gain some relationships, I hope to change the perception of the police, what people think of the police, and maybe what people think of me as a police officer. Rod was his own officer and I’m a different person. I’m hoping to gain respect that I can instill to other patrol officers for when they're having contact with high school kids, juveniles, and also make this position as an SRO a desired one,” Officer Cumley said. Hopefully, while he is here he is able to accomplish all of his personal and professional goals. In the long run, he too would like to be promoted to detective but is extremely excited to spend his time at La Follette.
He hopes that as time goes on students will know that they can come to him with any problem that they may have. He knows that a new person can be intimidating but hopes that once you get to know him you’ll be able to see what a genuine guy he is.
He’s learned from Officer Johnson that he needs to be relaxed, approachable, engaged and have fun with the students. He is taking the advice and working to create new relationships and is very excited to start his journey at La Follette.