Master Police Officer Luis “Lu” Velasquez is the new school resource officer at SunRidge Middle School. The job duties of an SRO have changed, and they now are more oriented to provide safety and security for the students and school staff by being aware of possible threats that can come from outside of campus and from within.
“Officer Velasquez has been an amazing addition to our Eagle family,” said SRMS Principal Amy McHale. “He jumped in quickly to help the team ensure our students had a safe and happy start to the school year. We quickly learned that we can count on a smile on a daily basis from Officer Lu. We are excited to continue our partnership with the Winter Garden Police Department to ensure a safe learning and working environment at SunRidge Middle.”
What brought you to your school?
What brought me to this school was a change of pace from my previous assignment and the opportunity to be an SRO since I have been certified by the state of Florida as one since 2007.
What do you love most about your school?
I love the fact that I can be a positive role model to most kids with good attitude and examples of tolerance. Hopefully, this will get viral within the school community and will spill over to their homes.
What is your motivation?
My biggest motivation is my family and the fact that we now enjoy each other (very much) each and every weekend. My previous assignment only gave me every other weekend.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is the opportunity to develop and sometimes change the image of law enforcement for some people — especially the ones who have had negative encounters and fail to provide a second chance to most of the law enforcement professionals.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I truly enjoy the company of my family and planning the next trip or adventure.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
I had two favorite teachers at school. The first one was extremely knowledgeable (a bit sarcastic sometimes), but a really good mathematician. The second one was a chemistry teacher who helped me a lot, since chemistry was not my forte.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
I actually wanted to be a psychiatrist or a psychologist. However, law enforcement has given me the opportunity to study people and human nature on the job (hands on, so to speak).
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies have changed over the years. I now like to bike instead of running. I also like to walk briskly because my right knee reminds me of all the abuse I have given it over the years. I also like extreme adventures and fast rides; I just have to be a little more careful and take precautions to avoid injuries.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I would like the power to easily persuade and convince people positively because it would make it easier to overcome some of the ideas and misconceptions we all have. Another good superpower would be to control time.
If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
I listen to just about all types of music. From smooth jazz, to rock, to Latin, to country, classical, reggae and pop. This question is not difficult, it’s impossible to answer!
What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?
My lunch was packed from home and usually consisted of a meat, a carbohydrate like beans with rice and a small salad. My favorite snacks were mango shreds or assorted fruit bowls. As far as treats, ice cream was always my favorite.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
My favorite holiday is New Year’s. This is a holiday to spend with family. As a child, I used to like Christmas better for obvious reasons (presents).
Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?
My best friend was this guy by the name of Gustavo, and he still is my best friend. He resides in Colombia (South America), but we communicate on the phone often.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
I used to be an awesome soccer player, and I won several medals and trophies with my team.
How long have you been at your school and with OCPS?
I have been at this school since the beginning of the school year in 2023. This is the first time I am actually working with members of OCPS.