Faces of 501: Megan Kirby
Officer Megan Kirby works as a school officer at Topeka High School. She previously worked as a correction's officer and then worked for Family Service and Guidance Center focusing on children with mental health needs. After graduating top of her class at the academy and becoming a member of the 200 Mile Club, Kirby joined Topeka Public Schools' Police Department hoping to make an impact on students and improve their views of police officers.
"At the academy, outside of your daily curriculum you have to do and all your daily requirements, they (training officers) gave us a goal that they do with every class to participate in what's called the '200 Mile Club,' where you run 200 miles while you're down there. But, it has to be while you're still at the academy, it can't be during weekends or outside of class time. There was a group of 20 of us that started it and 12 or 13 of us that ended up completing it. It was a lot of fun because it gave us a way to really come together. It was a good teamwork thing, a good motivational thing."
"I got my degree in psychology, and I really just enjoy working with people and I especially like working with kids. If you can work with kids while they're young, after working with adults and seeing that maybe somebody didn't intervene when they were younger, maybe you can change their path and influence them somehow."
"I've worked with kids all the way from five to seventeen. I've pretty much covered all the different age groups. I think this age group (high school) can be more difficult than other age groups because they are approaching adulthood so some of the attitudes are stronger. I think a lot of the time they just need a positive role model. I think all of us here at 501 do that."
"It's fun when a kid does approach me because I'm able to talk to them. Most of the kids just walk by and are kind of like, 'whatever,' but it's always exciting when one does come up and want to engage. That's always rewarding to know that we are approachable and not just disciplinarian or however they may see us."
"I'd like to learn as much as I can, whether that means staying here or moving on. Either way, I'd like to continue to get to know the kids here and interact with them positively. I know a lot of the kids, unfortunately, seem to see police officers in a negative way, which is kind of disheartening. Even if we are able to engage with a small portion of them, I think that would be beneficial. I hope to change the way they see us, know that we are there to help them and not just catch them every time they're doing something wrong; be that guidance piece that maybe they're lacking in their home life. Maybe they have that in their home life and they're just lost here. I want to try and set as many as possible on the right path so when they enter into adulthood they're not making poor decisions and getting caught up in stuff that they otherwise may not have been."