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A new face at high schools

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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Officer Tim Jaekel of the Lincoln Police Department said he has always wanted to work with children. Jaekel, 36, will achieve that goal as the new youth services officer for Lincoln and Phoenix high schools. The youth services officer position was reinstated July 28 when the Lincoln City Council approved the partnership with the Western Placer Unified School District. While the exact day Jaekel starts is still to be determined, he said he will definitely be there on Aug. 20, the first day of school. Six years ago, when Jaekel first began working for the Sacramento Police Department, he wanted to work with youth through the Big Brothers program. When he began working for the Lincoln Police Department in 2004, Jaekel volunteered with the Police Activities League. Moving into the newly reopened youth services officer position at Lincoln High School is the next logical step. “I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about his presence on the campus,” said Superintendent Scott Leaman of the Western Placer Unified School District, adding that he anticipates it being a positive effect. Leaman said he is looking forward to having a proactive working relationship with Jaekel as well as added safety and security for the students on the adjoining campuses of Lincoln and Phoenix high schools. For Jaekel, the biggest hurdle to overcome will be restarting the youth-services-officer program after a two-year hiatus. “For me, the challenge is establishing the relationships between myself and the faculty at Phoenix and Lincoln high schools,” Jaekel said, “and letting them know I am a resource to them because they haven’t had that resource for two years and they need to know I’m there.” The challenge, however, is offset by what Jaekel hopes to achieve. “I look forward to having the opportunity to interact with the kids in high school, be approachable and be an available resource,” Jaekel said. “I want to be able to answer the questions kids don’t feel comfortable asking their peers, parents or teachers. I want to be available to them and not be a big, overpowering authority. When that time comes, however, I’ll do my job.” Dustin McQueary, a 17-year-old senior at Lincoln High, is glad Jaekel will be on campus. “I’ve known him a year,” said McQueary, who wants to become a police officer. “I think it’ll be a good thing and he will give security to the school.” McQueary said he would possibly talk to Jaekel about issues he doesn’t feel comfortable discussing with others. “Tim’s a great officer and I think he’ll be a great fit in this position,” said Mayor Spencer Short. “His demeanor makes him the right fit for (the position), being able to connect with the kids and yet also being a strong authority figure and a positive role model.” Serving as a role model is nothing new for Jaekel, who served as a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army, finishing as a staff sergeant in 2007. “As I got older and had younger soldiers in the military, I got to serve as a mentor to them,” Jaekel said, adding that they came to him knowing he would respect them and keep their talks private. “I’m excited about finally getting over to the schools,” Jaekel said. “I think it’s going to be a good experience. I’m going to get in there and do the best I can.” Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at brandond@goldcountrymedia.com.