Naperville Central welcomes new school resource officer

Kait McHale and William Tong

Chris Schaefer became Naperville Central’s school resource officer on Jan. 10, replacing Officer James Tanksley. Schaefer is a Naperville Central alumnus and previously served as the school resource officer at Lincoln Junior High School and Madison Junior High School.

Returning to Central, Schaefer is here to be more than just a police officer. 

“I don’t want to be just seen as a police officer,” Schaefer said. “I want to be someone that people feel that they can trust and that they can come to me if they’re having issues, whether it be social issues with friends or even issues at home.” 

While his job includes disciplining students, Schaefer’s primary goal is to serve the best interest of the students, staff and families of the Central community.  

“My role is not to be here to get kids in trouble and arrest people,” Schaefer said. “My main goal is safety and being a resource for anyone and everyone in whatever they might need.”

However, that’s not all he does. In his eight years at the Naperville Police Department, Schaefer worked as a patrol officer and a school resource officer, teaching people to learn from their choices. 

“Sometimes, I am brought in to educate a person,” he said. “I try to work with people to learn from their mistakes.” 

At Central, Schaefer works alongside the deans, collaborating on cybercrime, interpersonal relationships and home safety. 

“The police officers and SROs have been great partners in making sure this building works for all 3300 people in it,” Dean of Students Mike Stock said. “Whether there’s a fender bender in the parking lot, a staff or student that’s having legal problems or someone who just wants some advice, the resource officer is there.” 

After many years, Schaefer, who played baseball and football at Central, is excited to be back, not as a student or an athlete, but as someone here to protect and support the community. 

“He was clear he wanted to be back at Naperville Central,” Stock said. “I do think we hit the jackpot, not just with what he does but with who he is.”