|Windham Police Officer Justin
Hudnor will serve as the School
Resource Officer at Windham
Middle School along with
providing police services for
the Windham primary schools and
as the new DARE officer serving
RSU 14 schools.
By Andrew Wing
The importance of having a school resource officer in a building is undeniable. Their responsibilities include developing safety procedures, conducting drills, and de-escalating aggression between those in the building if it arises, and the man who will be doing that at Windham Middle School this year is Officer Justin Hudnor.
Hudnor is a member of the Windham Police Department, and will serve as the School Resource Officer at Windham Middle School, succeeding Officer Matthew Cyr, who retired at the end of the last school year in June. As the new SRO, Hudnor’s list of duties is long, but his primary responsibility is providing police services to the elementary, primary, and middle schools in Windham. More than that though, the most important part of Hudnor’s job is building positive and trusting relationships between students and the Windham Police Department. While he hopes to do that effectively to help foster collaboration between law enforcement and the community to reduce crime, he says that he also wants to serve as a role model and mentor for students to help guide them to make healthy decisions.
He was born and raised in Brunswick, where he attended Brunswick High School. After graduating, he continued his education at Thomas College in Waterville, where he majored in Criminal Justice and would eventually earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.
Hudnor’s interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement started when he was in high school when the school resource officer at his high school took him under his wing once he saw that Justin had an interest in it. He then completed an internship with the Brunswick Police Department which ultimately confirmed that law enforcement was what he wanted to do. After graduating from college, Hudnor became a corrections officer at the Cumberland County Jail and worked there for just over a year until he eventually got hired by the Windham Police Department in 2014.
“What first prompted me to want to become an SRO for the district was seeing first-hand how well the school district and police department work together,” said Hudnor. “Also, talking with the current SROs and learning about their day-to-day duties, the role sounded like something I would love to do, and I also enjoy building relationships with the youth in town and feeling like my work makes a difference.”
But becoming an SRO takes a lot of hard work, especially in Windham where one must have been a full-time law enforcement officer for three years, must complete the basic SRO course, successfully finish a week long training course held at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, and many more requirements, but Hudnor did it all because he really wanted the job.
“As a patrol officer, I really enjoyed building rapport with key stakeholders and acting as a relatable role model for the young people in our community,” said Hudnor. “However, I felt I really wanted more opportunities to do so, and now as the SRO, my goal is to provide a positive presence in the hopes that students understand that law enforcement officers can serve as trusted mentors.”
More than that, Hudnor says that he has a lot more goals that he hopes to accomplish in his new position that will not only make him a better police officer but will also make our schools and our community a safer place.
“I am sure that my goals for this role will continue to develop over time, but my current hope is to continue the programming that Officer Cyr established in creating opportunities to build self-worth, leadership skills, and resiliency through outdoor adventure,” said Hudnor. “Additionally, I want to continue fostering the relationship between the police department and the school system because it will ensure that our trusting and collaborative bond will help keep our students safe.”
Being a police officer is one of the more dangerous jobs out there, and it goes without saying that it’s important to have your family's support, and luckily enough, Hudnor’s family is very supportive of his career.
“My wife has encouraged me to pursue my passion for community policing and working within our school system despite the fact that it means sometimes spending time away from my family for training and conferences,” said Hudnor. “I have a 6-month-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. They are another reason why I am so invested in our schools and working to make a difference as they will be attending these schools in a few short years. My son is also proud that his dad is a police officer – he loves the police cruiser lights.” <