Oak-Land Junior High School Resource Officer recognized for exceptional service

Washington County Detective Rebecca Engel, the School Resource Officer at Oak-Land Junior High, is this year’s Meritorious Service Medal winner, awarded by the Minnesota Sheriff’s Department. (submitted photo)

She may be known as “Ms. Deputy” by some of the students at Oak-Land Junior High in Lake Elmo, but law enforcement officers around the state know Detective Rebecca Engel as this year’s Meritorious Service Medal winner.

Engel was recently recognized by the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association for her exceptional accomplishments and achievements as the School Resource Officer (SRO) at the Oak-Land Junior High School. The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to just one deputy in the state of Minnesota each year.

“Detective Engel has developed a reputation with her peers as a resource on juvenile issues in the St. Croix Valley,” said Sergeant Lonnie Van Klei of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. “She has established this through her longevity, patience and her ability to understand the ever-changing needs of today’s youth.”

Engel has worked at the SRO at Oak-Land for the past eight years, and provides support to the principals and school counselors as they work to promote a safe learning environment for students. She spends the majority of her day interacting with students to provide counsel and support on a variety of youth issues. She also serves on the school’s safety team, and actively works to prevent and quickly resolve security concerns at the school. When she’s not on duty, you may find her with a whistle around her neck coaching the eighth grade girls’ volleyball team.

“The goal is for the kids to see law enforcement in a different way,” Engel said. “I’m working to build relationships with students, to invest in them, learn with them, and help be a deterrent to keep them from committing crimes.”

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