Release Date: 6/7/2017
Contact: Office of Communications, 443.809.5908

BCPS surprises two school resource officers with SRO of the Year awards

Officers assigned to Sudbrook Magnet Middle School and Patapsco High School honored

Towson, MD – Part of the job of a school resource officer (SRO) is to know what is going on in the school building at all times. But this morning, two of Baltimore County’s best SROs were caught off guard – surprised by a prize patrol that came to their schools to tell them that they had been selected as the middle and high school SROs of the Year.

Officer First Class Tamara Ray of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts and Officer Christopher Viator of Sudbrook Magnet Middle School were honored by Baltimore County Public Schools in collaboration with the Baltimore County Police Department.

SROs are Baltimore County police officers stationed at every BCPS middle and high school to ensure the maintenance of safe and orderly learning environments.

Ray graduated from the Baltimore County Police Academy in August of 1999. Two years later, she joined the SRO program and has been serving the Patapsco High School community ever since. Ray visits classrooms each day, formally instructing students on law-related topics and informally engaging students when teachable moments occur. At Patapsco High, she has sponsored and coached several school extra-curricular activities such as Step Squad, Women’s Leadership Club, indoor track & field, cross-country and girls’ basketball and also travels to away games. Ray regularly attends Patapsco High’s musical performances, school plays, and proms, frequently works as security at basketball and football games, and chaperones many dances and even out-of-state music magnet trips. Ray’s involvement extends to the Patapsco High staff as well. She often is present at faculty functions and personal life events of both faculty and students. She also will take time to visit students and faculty who are hospitalized.

“Officer First Class Tamara Ray models what it is to be a community police officer, teacher, mentor, and friend," wrote Patapsco Principal Craig Reed. “Most impressively, Officer Ray mentors and is a role model for many of our students who are seeking careers in law enforcement. Some of her former students are in the Baltimore County police force. She sponsors and guides them through the cadet process, as a resource, even using her coaching knowledge to provide them with a workout plan so that they can pass the physical exam and volunteering her time to train them prior to their acceptance in the cadet program."

Viator joined the Baltimore County Police Department in December 1999. For almost nine years, he has served as the SRO for Sudbrook Magnet Middle School. In addition to teaching Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) every year to the Grade 7 health class, Viator assists in teaching lessons about the Bill of Rights in social studies and also about international and domestic human rights in Spanish class. He also created a mock police boot camp for the physical education class and volunteers as a coach for the Sudbrook basketball and tennis teams. In addition, Viator participates with the Sudbrook staff in faculty softball, volleyball, and basketball games and organizes staff corn hole and ping pong tournaments. He attends Sudbrook’s concerts and various performances and actively takes part in the annual Career Day event by sharing his own experiences and the rewards of entering the police force.

“Officer Viator is the epitome of what is expected of an SRO," wrote Sudbrook Principal Gordon Webb. “He understands that building relationships with students and staff members is a key factor in doing any job well, and he has demonstrated effectiveness in this area. Officer Viator’s presence can be felt and seen throughout the building as he serves our school community."

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