Protecting Our School One Day at Time: Officer Hilderbrand
James Hilderbrand is not only known as Columbus High School’s Resource Officer, but also a father, a leader, and an experienced professional. The beloved Officer Hilderbrand has had many defining moments in his career that led to his placement at Columbus High.
Hilderbrand first began with college, where he was determined to become an FBI agent. His inspiration was his uncle, who had a career in the FBI. During his college years, Hilderbrand was told that the FBI wanted to recruit people with degrees in accounting. After pursuing accounting, Hilderbrand decided that was not the career path he desired.
Instead, Hilderbrand joined the Columbus Police Department in 1979 as a police officer. After working for Columbus for two years, he went to Dallas Baptist University in Texas where he received a degree in Criminal Justice.
With this degree, Hilderbrand transferred to the Lagrange Police Department to work for six years. He quickly became engaged and dedicated to law enforcement, and concluded that was where he wished to stay.
“I started law enforcement because I wanted to help people, and that’s what I’ve done everyday in my career.”
Hilderbrand then spent his next years doing a variety of work that ranged from serving as a probation officer for Muscogee County Juvenile Court, to training officers overseas in Haiti for twelve years.
Hilderbrand eventually found himself stationed on the campus of Columbus State University (CSU). It was there that he heard news of a special program in the making.
This newly invented program would be called The Muscogee County School District Police Department.
Hilderbrand immediately became interested in joining the program that would station him in schools around the county.
After completing several weeks of School Resource Officer (SRO) training, Hilderbrand became a certified School Resource Officer for Muscogee County School District in fall of 2019.
When Hilderbrand was recruited, he was one of only five officers currently in the program.
Due to a lack of officers, Hilderbrand was stretched and stationed at a handful of schools. Eventually, more School Resource Officers were recruited, and Hilderbrand’s chief was able to place him at Columbus High School during the school year of 2019.
“That was a real blessing,” Hilderbrand smiled.
Hilderbrand currently has 37 years of law enforcement experience under his belt. With this, he continues to work hard everyday to help ensure the safety and security of Columbus High School.