Jen Britzke’s official title at the Shamong School District was School Resource Trooper. But to anyone in the district, she was Trooper B.
In Britzke’s two years with Shamong, the state trooper learned about the teachers, administrators and students who occupy the halls of Indian Mills Elementary and Memorial schools. She didn’t stop there.
“Thank you for reviewing and guidance of our security plans and procedures,” Superintendent Christine Vespe said during a Jan. 21 board of education meeting. “Thank you for assisting in our monthly security drills, conducting interviews regarding disciplinary issues as well as giving the utmost respect to our children.”
Britske — who is to leave the district on Jan. 24 — commended its willingness to have every student succeed and encouraged involvement in extracurriculars. She led the district’s Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD) program to teach children about drugs, bullying and violence. She commonly engaged with students to help them better understand the information.
Britske is not leaving teaching entirely; she’s been promoted to instructor for new troopers.
“I’ve always had a passion to teach,” she explained. “I’ve got the best of both worlds. I love my job wholeheartedly and I care tremendously about students.”
Interacting with kids during school hours or activities was always a regular thing for Britske, but her favorite activity was participating in the Read Across America program. She selected books that were interactive and informative to get kids engaged, but also focused on the novel.
Britske made it a point to interact with people, kids and families she crossed paths with to establish herself as the safety point person. But she also sought to limit the unintended consequences of kids who fear the people protecting them.
“There are often times at a community event, where some will say, ‘Be good or the police officer is going to arrest you,’ and I’ll make it an instant to drop down to my knees and introduce myself to that child and let them know I’m not here to arrest them,” the trooper said.
“I’m here to help.”
Administrators at the board meeting cited Briske for her significant positive impact on students and the district.
“Thank you for being a role model for our children,” Vespe reiterated. “Thanks for being a part of our family in Shamong — don’t be too far away from us.”
“If years from now, one of these younger female students become a state trooper, I’m happy with that,” Britske said tearfully.
“I want them all to go on and achieve their dreams. They all can do it.”