New Faces on the Fort Dodge School Beat - from The Messenger
After almost a decade, two new faces have joined the school resource officer program - a partnership between the city of Fort Dodge and the Fort Dodge Community School District.
With the recent departure of Sgt. Bryce Presswood and Patrol Officer Joelyn Johnson's move to the department's Criminal Investigations Division, patrol officers Matt Meyer and Matt Weir have stepped up to fill the vacancies left behind and work with youth in the school district.
The city of Fort Dodge and the Fort Dodge Community School District entered into an agreement in 2014 to establish a working relationship in order to deal with circumstances where immediate law enforcement intervention was necessary and to deal with other law-enforcement related issues such as truancy, delinquency, school rule violations and similar issues. The program was designed to enhance the relationship between the schools, law enforcement, students, parents and the community by creating a resource and advocacy team and establishing a liaison between the district, its staff, city law enforcement authorities and various service provides.
Meyer graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High in 2011, intending to pursue a career in sports medicine. During his college education, Meyer realized his passions lay elsewhere and ultimately decided on a career in law enforcement.
He first came to the Fort Dodge Police Department in December 2016. After serving the citizens of Fort Dodge for four years, Meyer was given the opportunity to serve the citizens of Bremer County. After about 10 months, he returned home to the Fort Dodge Police Department. In early 2022, he moved into the school resource officer position that became vacant when Presswood was promoted to sergeant.
"I took this assignment as a new challenge and to create a positive impact in the adolescent community," Meyer said. "For me, being in the SRO role was a new side of law enforcement. Theses students are at a critical point in their development. I enjoy working with them and sharing my life experiences with them. I believe it's beneficial to hear about how others, myself included, maneuvered through this time in our lives."
To students who may be considering a career in law enforcement, he has the following words of wisdom: "Don't focus on the negativity surrounding the field. Communities need good people to step up and pursue a career in law enforcement. Get yourself into good physical shape, stay out of trouble and talk to those already in the law enforcement community."
Meyer enjoys working on his family farm, hunting, spending time with his family and cheering for Iowa State when he's not on duty.
Weir was born and raised in Emmetsburg. After graduating from high school in 2011, he received his associate degree in criminal justice from Iowa Lakes Community College and his bachelor's degree in criminology from the University of Northern Iowa.
He served as a reserve officer with the Emmetsburg Police Department before joining the ranks of the Fort Dodge Police Department in August 2016. He began his SRO duties on Aug. 8, taking over for Johnson at Fort Dodge Middle School. Prior to this new role, he spent almost six years working the streets in the Patrol Division.
"I wanted to be a school resource officer because it will give me the opportunity to interact with our youth in a positive way," Weir said. "After six years as a patrol officer, I'm excited to work with the community in a different way. I look forward to maintaining and building my own positive relationships with Fort Dodge youth, parents and the Fort Dodge Community School District. I want students to know that even though I'm wearing a uniform full of gear, I am approachable. I want them to be comfortable coming to me if they have an issue or just want to talk."
To students who may be considering a career in law enforcement, Weir has the following words of wisdom: "Continue building and focusing on the characteristics of respect, honesty and fairness. Stay physically fit. Good fitness will be beneficial in your day-to-day duties in law enforcement."
Outside of work, Weir likes to spend time with his family, hit the gym, camp and fish. He recently picked up a new hobby - golf. On game days, you'll see him sporting black and gold for the Iowa Hawkeyes.