Respect proves to be the key to SRO’s job at Quest Elementary
Cpl. Peter Chamberland, the resource officer at Quest Elementary School in Viera, chats with students Alice Friesen and Micah Beagle.
Viera Voice Photo
If Cpl. Peter Chamberland had to pick one song that sums up his goal as school resource officer at Quest Elementary School in Viera, it would be “Respect” by the late Aretha Franklin.
“I definitely learned a lot about respect from my mother and father,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for authority and civilians. I think it is very important to show each other respect.”
Born in Cocoa, Chamberland was homeschooled until 2005. He then attended Brevard Community College (now Eastern Florida State College) but left before completing his studies. He decided to join the U.S. Marine Corps in 2010.
“It (the military) was always something I wanted to do,” he said. “My mom was in the Army as a military police officer and my dad was in the Navy. I wanted to follow my mom and was aiming for a military police career.”
Unfortunately, Chamberland injured his back in a training exercise and had to leave the Marine Corps after a year of service.
Back home, Chamberland decided to return to Eastern Florida State College and enroll in the school’s police academy. Following his graduation from the police academy in January 2016, he was hired three months later by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office as a patrol deputy. He was stationed in the department’s West Precinct, which covers parts of Melbourne, Rockledge and Cocoa.
Earlier this year, Chamberland was named Quest Elemetary School’s resource officer.
“I definitely think it’s a very important position,” he said. “There are so many negative things you hear about youths and police. I want to have a positive influence on the kids here at Quest.”
At Quest, Chamberland is responsible for the safety and security of 1,125 students, teachers, staff and administrators. “It’s a fantastic school,” he said. “The kids are great. There are a lot of positive things going on in the school.”
Chamberland also said Quest Elementary is a very secure school.
“Everyone is on the same page to make Quest a safe and secure place,” he said. “We hold meetings with faculty and staff. I’m very happy with the situation.”
One of the areas that Chamberland is concentrating on is bullying.
“I definitely have to get to know the kids better,” he continued. “I need to learn from teachers who the bullies are because I want to keep kids safe from physical harm and emotional harm. That’s why respect is so important to me. You have to earn the respect from kids and then they will respect you and your job.”
Although he has been at Quest Elementary for less than a month, Chamberland says he has gotten good advice and feedback from other school resource officers in the county.
“I have a pretty good open line of communication with the other SROs,” he said. “We all communicate very well with one another.”
Chamberland added that he is grateful that Sheriff Wayne Ivey has put a greater emphasis on placing the best trained officers into Brevard County schools.
“I want to know that my son’s SRO is in shape and an active member of the department,” he said.
Chamberland, who resides in Melbourne, is the father of a 7-year-old boy, Lucas. His son attends Atlantis Elementary School.
Currently, Chamberland is seeking his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Eastern Florida State College. He also plans on staying at Quest for some time.
“This definitely is something I want to do for several years,” he said. “I’m very happy here at Quest.”