SRO Jakymiw’s move to RTHS will strengthen bonds he’s created

Jack Anderson, Ryan Hunter, Parker Lenkaitis, School Officer Jim Jakymiw, David Wanner and Evan Lovett. Jakymiw has had the chance to reconnect with students he met during his time as SRO at Rochelle Middle School since moving to the RTHS SRO position.

‘I want students to understand that police officers are truly here to help’

ROCHELLE — Beginning a job in education during the month of May is unusual, but Jim Jakymiw welcomed the challenge. He began official duties as the Rochelle Township High School resource officer May 1. By lunchtime he was enjoying reunions with students he met as Rochelle Middle School eighth graders when he was assigned there four years ago.

Former SRO Pete Pavia’s appointment as interim Rochelle Police Department chief created a vacancy at RTHS and it just made sense to move Jakymiw to RTHS, so he can build on the rapport he initiated with kids as middle schoolers.

“I was really pleased with the decision to move to RTHS,” Jakymiw said. “It’s great to see how the kids develop and mature through the years. That level of maturity allows me to have different kinds of conversations here at the high school than I did at the middle school.”

As Jakymiw talked, it was evident he’s excited about sharing the lessons he learned throughout his 15 years on the force. Jakymiw (pronounced Jack-e-mew) said he grew up in a Ukrainian family in Cary, a far northwest Chicago suburb. Tradition, culture and work ethic were important. He set his sights on a career in law enforcement early. 

“I was greatly influenced when a K9 officer visited my grade school,” Jakymiw said. “I enrolled at Western Illinois University, earning a degree in law enforcement and justice administration, and after graduating, I was hired by RPD.”

After 11 years on the force, he became the very first school resource officer at the middle school. 

“Those early days were spent educating students and their families about exactly what an SRO is and does.”

Jakymiw was invested in representing his force and profession, imploring students to understand the police are here to serve and protect.

“I want students to understand that police officers are truly here to help,” Jakymiw said. “The police department is a safe place to go if you ever need it.”

He said Hubs may consider their RTHS years as a dress rehearsal for life.

“This is the place to make mistakes and if you do, to learn how to rebound from them,” Jakymiw said. “Learning to recover from mistakes is something I carried away from my law enforcement training. If I’m going to make a mistake, it’s better that it happens during training than on the street. I am here as a resource for the students, RTHS families and staff. So please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, comments, information or concerns about school safety, in-town incidents, general law enforcement topics, or anything really.”

Jakymiw enjoys getting into the classroom and talking with the students about a variety of topics. “Let me know if there's anything I can do. My work cell is (815) 826-1290 and my email address is [email protected].”