NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — School Resource Officers play a vital role in keeping schools safe, and one SRO in Newport News has put his own spin on the daily task of keeping hundreds of students in check.
Students at Menchville High School know Officer Sean Wilder as the guitar-playing SRO of Newport News.
"I went to lunch at Denbigh and just started playing and everyone was like, 'What the?!' and 'Who is this guy?'" Wilder said. "I was like, 'OK, it's different to them so I'll just keep doing it.'"
Wilder first started jamming in the halls of Denbigh High School, and then kept it up at Menchville as a way to connect with the teens.
"Yes I am a police officer, I have a role to play, this is what I do here at Menchville High School. But I'm also a human being, I can relate to you in some manner," Wilder said.
What started as a hobby is now his trademark as an SRO.
"I see a kid walk by and I'll play the Pink Panther [theme] like, 'What are you guys getting into?'" he said. "And some people will be like, 'I know that song, it's the Black Panther.' And I'm like, 'No, that's not the Black Panther!'"
Wilder began his SRO career at Denbigh High School before moving to Menchville last year. He's been a police officer for 12 years and an SRO for the past two years.
In addition to playing the guitar while monitoring the hallways, Wilder also helps organize athletic competitions between the students and other members of the Newport News Police Department.