New School Resource Officer: Nick Larson


Security Resource Officer-Nick Larson

By Ella Lindemann, Features Editor

Nick Larson was introduced to the Niles West community as the new School Resource Officer (SRO) this school year. However, this is not his first time at Niles West. Larson and his dog Jascal (pronounced yas-cul) were the K9-officer duo for Niles West a couple years back in 2016. “As the canine guy, no one wanted to know my name, they’d want [to know about] the dog,” Larson joked. “They’d ask, ‘how old is he?’, ‘What’s his name?’ I’d say, ‘Oh, by the way I’m Officer Larson,’ and they’d say, ‘Oh okay great, now tell me about the dog.'”

Larson has been a police officer with the Skokie Police Department for the last 19 years. “I was the K9 officer for eight years prior to becoming an SRO,” Larson said. He was also a part of the SWAT team in Skokie for the past 10 years. Now with Jascal at home, Larson joins Niles West on his new journey. “It’s a big change of pace compared to what I was doing before,” Larson said.

“A lot of the high school students that I deal[t] with were out on the streets, kids playing basketball, people at the parks, just talking to people. I have had more interactions with people outside than I have had inside high schools, but I look forward to helping. Being my freshman year I hope to get more experience,” Larson said.

As a “freshman,” Larson wants to get the feel of how he fits into the Niles West community. “I don’t know how the SRO was before, but I want to be approachable,” Larson said.  “If I have to stop 25 times in every passing period to talk to people, I’d love it.”

In the hallways and in the lunchroom Larson is often greeting students as they pass by. “I haven’t met Officer Larson personally but he says hi to everyone in the hallways” junior Alexa Mazilu said. “During lunch, Officer Larson comes over and says ‘hi,’ which I think is very kind,” junior Aleena Haider said.

Sense of community is really important to Larson. He wants to build onto the community rather than change anything.

“He’s very professional, outgoing and detail-oriented,” security guard Ms. Brown said.

“My plan is to treat everyone as an equal. Someone may have a bad day one day, I’m not going to make that change my perception of them. I don’t care what color, what race, what kind of background you have, a person is a person and I want to treat people as people,” Larson said.

Larson grew up in Palatine, Illinois. There, he played football for Palatine High School and ran indoor and outdoor track. “I claimed the fame I guess with pole vaulting,” Larson said. There was even one time when Larson had to share a pole with an upperclassman, and when he tried to clear 12 feet, he fell from the top of the pole!

Larson didn’t particularly love or hate school, so when someone mentioned how much ring “Dr. Larson” had to it, he began to think how “Officer Larson” had an even better ring.

“I thought Officer Larson sounded good and then I started looking into the police and started really getting interested in it, and that’s actually what led me into the field I’m in now,” Larson said.

Larson lives with his five children, wife and dog. “Our big thing that we like doing is we go camping all around the U.S. so that’s probably three weeks to a month [every] year for us.” When the family isn’t camping, they’re driving back and forth from various sports practices or shopping at Costco.

Now that Larson has been roaming the halls in his cowboy boots and socializing with students for the first couple weeks of school, he hopes to become a part of the Niles West family and community.