Portola Pilot

A Double Duty Cop

Office Jennifer Johsen arrests a Disneyland actress dressed up like Snow White who was protesting at a labor rally.

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Johnsen

Office Jennifer Johsen arrests a Disneyland actress dressed up like Snow White who was protesting at a labor rally.

Shawyan Rooein and Dylan Vanek

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Have you seen the officer in blue patrolling campus?

Her name is Jennifer Johnsen, and she is an Irvine police officer in charge of Portola High, Beacon Park Elementary and Middle Schools and Jeffrey Trail Middle School. The Irvine police department assigns police officers to each school in the district to keep campuses safe, enforce the law and make sure that students stay on the right path during their years as a minor.

Not only is Officer Johnsen a full-time police officer, but she is also a mother who spends most of her time with her family.

“I have three kids. I have a junior in high school, I have a sophomore in high school, and I have a middle schooler. So when I’m not here, I’m at home being a mom, so I’m around kids all day,” Johnsen said.

Johnsen is not the typical officer that is trying to put kids that participate in illegal activities behind bars, her main goal is to help them work through their personal issues that may be causing them to act out. She wants to help students work through those issues they may be having at the time to ensure they will learn their lesson and not act out illegally in the future.

“If a patrol officer finds one of our students doing something wrong outside of school, they will report it to me,” Johnsen said. “I will address the situation by working with the school counselors to figure out if they may be having any family-related issues that are causing them to act out and assign a reasonable punishment based on the student’s situation.”

Her job does not always end when she leaves school. She is constantly on call whenever any Irvine student does something that requires the attention of the police. Her job involves working closely with other school officers to keep students in line across the city. Although she primarily works with schools, Johnsen comes across many situations that require her to be on call almost all week.

“Every day is different. Last Friday, I had a kid who did something overnight, not even one of ours [but] at a different school, Woodbridge, and I ended up in the middle of the night going out and taking care of that,” Johnsen said.

Instead of working to catch students doingillegal activity and send them to jail like a patrol officer would, she works to reform students’ mindsets so that they can learn from their mistakes.

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