The Man, The Myth, The Officer


Anna Berry

It’s a blazing 96 degrees outside. The south Texas humidity is so thick that you could probably stir it. Tompkins students are rushing home from their long day at school, to the comfort of their air conditioned homes, looking forward to maybe a dip in the pool, or some ice cream.  However, the afternoon is just getting started for James “Red” Shrum, KISD police officer, and Tompkins crossing guard.

“Pay attention.”  If officer Shrum could say anything to student drivers, it would be just that.

It is no lie that the traffic around campus in the afternoons can get a little hectic. He feels as if his job would be easier, and students could get home faster if they would just open their eyes to what is going on around them.

“I have been a crossing guard for a year and a half now. The previous officer got into a motorcycle accident, so I took over for her,” said Shrum.

A dedicated officer, Shrum does not take his job lightly. He has been a security guard at Tompkins  since 2016. Previously, he worked logistics for transporting freight all over the world. However, it is safe to say that Officer Shrum has found his nest here.

“I love getting to know the students here. One of the most rewarding things is getting to help out with situations where I can make a difference,” said Shrum.

 Students might catch him walking around the freshman center hallways. If anyone forgets something in a car parked in crimson lot, he is likely the one to escort them with a happy smile.

“Officer Shrum is a pretty cool dude. He seems to enjoy his job,” said junior Abhi Arumuli.

Students appreciate the kind man that Officer Shrum is. They also commend the sometimes stressful nature of his job.

“ I know sometimes he can look a little frustrated when he is directing traffic, but he gets it done. I don’t know anyone else that would want to do that,” said senior Megha Natarajan.

Officer Shrum is definitely a go-getter. There are not too many people out there that could do what he does.  And while he loves his job, sometimes students can be difficult to deal with. However, he has a word of advice to avoid conflict.

“ One of the hardest parts of my job is trying to keep kids from doing things they shouldn’t. Just do what’s right, and we will never have an issue,” said Shrum.