In Indianapolis Public Schools the work of an IPS Police Officer includes the many facets of law enforcement with an added measure of compassion and encouragement. These dedicated sworn officers contribute their time and effort far beyond a typical school day and do much more than keep our students, staff and guests safe. Sgt. John Barrow ensures our students know the rules – and also their value, potential and limitless opportunities in life.

 
Sgt. John F. Barrow – a Northwest High School alum — is personally invested in IPS. A 20-year IPS veteran, Barrow was hired as an IPS Police Officer in 1996 and was promoted to Sergeant in just five years. He has worked in numerous schools and programs throughout the district. Currently he provides conflict resolution and de-escalation training to staff, students and parents. Sgt. Barrow is also a 13-year military veteran; he enlisted right after high school graduation and has served in Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He later attended Oakland City University. In addition to his role in IPS, Sgt. Barrow – a pillar in the Indianapolis community – serves as a Marion County Reserve Deputy. 
 

“To quote Tom Allen, ‘I think we have a moral obligation to our children that can be easily summarized: number one protect them from harm,’” said Sergeant John F. Barrow, IPS Police, when asked about his acclaimed, long-term commitment to students, families, staff and community.

 

In Indianapolis Public Schools the work of an IPS Police Officer includes the many facets of law enforcement with an added measure of compassion and encouragement. These dedicated sworn officers contribute their time and effort far beyond a typical school day and do much more than keep our students, staff and guests safe. Sergeant John Barrow ensures our students know the rules – and also their value, potential and limitless opportunities in life.

 

“Sergeant Barrow epitomizes the type of person that IPS seeks in an officer for the district. He’s a leader that always looks to build relationships and break barriers between school officials and students,” says Deputy Superintendent for Operations Scott Martin. Emphasizing a few of Barrow’s accomplishments, Martin said, “He has performed admirably in past roles at school sites and performed exceptionally well in his current role as a liaison between police and administrators. He has developed materials and trained principals on the use of force continuum that was later presented to all district teachers to assist them in dealing effectively with disruptive student behaviors. I’m happy to call Sergeant Barrow a colleague and fortunate to have such an asset within the district.”

 

Dr. Wanda H. Legrand, IPS Deputy Superintendent for Academics shares an appreciation for Sgt. Barrow’s daily contributions with students and staff in our schools and his efforts to support administrators. She highlighted how easy Barrow is to work with, saying, “Sgt. Barrow is amazing. He is reliable and conscientious, and he is all about building relationships with others.”

 

When asked about the philosophy under which Sgt. Barrow approaches his work he said that he strives, “to correct and discipline our young people because they sometimes do not have the cognitive skills needed for success in today’s social society.”  

 

IPS Police Chief Steven Garner further points out that Sgt. Barrow “has a unique skills set, which includes the ability to think very broadly when seeking solutions to problems. He is also a spiritual person who seems to have a ‘Grandma or Aunt so-and-so always said’ story to fit most any situation. He has wisdom beyond his years.”

 

Q & A with Sgt. Barrow:

  1. What is the easiest/most difficult part of your job? What positive process can be expanded and what barriers can the district remove to help improve the work that you do?
  2. Is there a most rewarding/favorite moment from being on the job that you recall?

    Yes, when a student asks me to stand in as proxy for their parent or grandparent because they couldn’t make it – for example senior night or recognition for some type of scholarship they received, etc., even knowing that I just had to issue some type of discipline toward them.  I was just invited to one of my former students graduation from Indiana University, as well as being invited to her wedding. She is now a Teacher here at IPS.

  3. Working in your capacity, I understand there’s a time to be encouraging and also a time to be firm. As some students have far more challenging behaviors than others, how do you balance the two?
  4. Options! I’ve explained it to our Scholars this way.. everyone has made a bad decision/mistake. Now do we continue on the same path or attempt to change?  I like to use a pencil as example, I show them a pencil and I tell them every pencil has an eraser; you made a mistake, lets correct and move forward. Even us as adults, if given the option we would like to correct some of our decisions and start over; we’re over 21 and we still make mistakes.

  5. IPS students are nearly 50% African American and 25% Hispanic, accounting for nearly 75% of our total enrollment. Do you feel it’s important for them to see and interact with leaders in our district like you, Supt. Ferebee, Dr. Legrand, etc.? If so, why?

Absolutely.. most of the communication our children receive is via text, social media, and television. I believe our current administration has a great opportunity to foster the behavior and culture that our Scholars need as a positive impact that says; I look like you, be disciplined, work hard, be loyal to your craft and you’ll succeed.

 

We are proud to have a hometown hero protecting our students and staff, providing valuable insight to others and assisting our community in building positive relationships. Thank you, Sgt. Barrow, for all you do!