WGHS’ resource officer, Bob Graeff, left Sept. 3, to become a detective in the WG Criminal Investigation Unit.
Graeff will be replaced by third year patrolman Cassidy Thompson.
“One of my things that I’ve aspired to do is to be a detective and get promoted, so I put in for this last detective position, and I was selected for that spot,” Graeff said.
Graeff began his career as a patrol officer in Creve Coeur, and worked there from April 2012 until June 2016. In June 2016, Graeff transferred to the Webster Groves Police Department.
In January of 2018, Graeff started working at WGHS.
“They called me on a Friday and I started on a Monday,” Graeff said about his transition from patrolman to school resource officer.
This transition to detective is happening almost as quickly. Graeff is excited but also will miss interacting with students.
“It’s going to be hard to replace a lot of those relationships because we’ve got some really good kids, and the staff has been amazing to me,” Graeff said.
“I always promised this class [class of 2022] that I would try to stay, and then this opportunity opened up, so I guess I might be breaking a little promise, but it’s for good intentions,” Graeff mentioned.
Seniors Audrey Swaine, Elsie Zerega and Julie Bardelmeier have known Graeff for the last four years.
“Officer Bob is always ready to have a great conversation and put a smile on everyone’s face. He’s been a friendly face in the building for all my years of high school,” Swaine wrote.
“I like that he tries to connect with the students and give them a safe and fun environment to be in,” Zerega wrote.
Bardelmeier wrote of her favorite memory of Graeff.
“One day I came into school late, having a bad morning, and he [Graeff] could tell I was having a bad day so he brought me to his office and gave me candy,” Bardelmeier wrote.
“I always wanted to put myself out there so the kids could, like, see that, yes, I’m here, you know, for safety and protection, to make sure, you know, nobody’s, like, violating laws, but really, like, here to show that, you know, the police are here, like, to build rapport and be part of the community with them,” Graeff said.
Graeff wanted to stress the importance of community and positivity to students.
“As I always express to the kids, you guys are a community, and everything you guys do here together, 20years down the road, you’re going to remember a lot of those things, so I think it’s always… be a positive influence and help each other out to get through tough times,” Graeff said.
“As long as you remain positive and keep a good outlook on life, you’re going to be able to get through anything and do anything that you want,” Graeff concluded.
This week’s ECHO Podcast is introduced, outro’d by and edited by podcast editor Maren DeMargel.
News/opinion editor Emily Goben talks to Officer Bob Graeff about his time at Webster.
Emily Goben – News/Opinion Editor
This will be Emily Goben’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.