Chief Helmers Addresses School Safety, Other Topics


Chester Police Chief Bobby Helmers was recently interviewed about school safety issues by members of the CHS journalism class.

Ace Smith, Associate Editor

Journalism students at Chester High School interviewed Chief Bobby Helmers on Aug. 31 as part of a lesson in interviewing techniques. The chief recalls his younger years as a school student in California and Illinois, his experiences as a police officer, school safety precautions, and how to keep students safe.

When asked if he ever encountered school safety drills as a student, he recounts, “I went to grade school in California…They were more security minded towards terrorists and stuff like that.” However, in high school, he never once encountered an active shooter drill. He feels that it is important for teachers to pay attention when these drills happen, even though it is “just a drill.” When talking about Uvalde, a massive school shooting where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos shot and killed nineteen students and two teachers, he calls the police chief of Robb Elementary School, Chief Pete Arredondo, “a coward.” He states, “he (Arrendondo) needs to be held accountable and prosecuted.” He felt as though he didn’t ‘learn’ from Uvalde, but rather that the police force in Uvalde failed to learn from other shootings. He felt as though taking away the gun from the police officer was, “the most absurd thing” to do in that situation.

When recalling other dangerous situations he has been in, he states, “I had a dometic call with a wife and a husband who were fighting…the guy set the house on fire with his wife and kids inside. I had to run in the house with this madman in there, who had a big hunting knife, to get the wife and kids out.”

Methamphetamine, to Chief Helmers, is a one-way ticket to ruining the American dream. He states, “As someone who has those things, a wife and kids, it boggles me why anyone would trade that away to experiment with poison.” He talks with students about how once a person tries meth or heroin, they are addicted. “You either go to prison,” Chief Helmers reinforces, “or you die. That’s what happens when you get addicted.”

Chief Helmers’s biggest inspiration for being a police officer was the community. He states, “The community has always been good to me, so I give back by walking through the schools every day to make sure students are safe.” He also states, “My big brother was a police officer and I followed in his footsteps all my life.” Chief Helmers was a military man just like his brother, as well.

When asked for followup responses, Chief Helmers reinforced the importance of locking doors and windows at all times in and outside of the school. He tells students to “always be aware of your surroundings.” Chief Helmers has a determination to keep the people of Chester safe from harm’s way. Whether that be through helping with domestics, sharing information about school safety, or encouraging students to stay away from harmful substances, Chief Helmers’s main goal is to support the community and his family. Chief Helmers states in his closing statement, “Life is what you make it.”