Apple Valley cop named state’s Juvenile Officer of the Year
by Andrew Miller
The easy manner Mike Eliason has around high school students probably stems from all the hours he’s logged – in and out of uniform.
A 22-year veteran of Apple Valley’s police force, Mike Eliason has spent 17 of those years at Apple Valley High School as the police liaison officer.
The real work, he says, begins after school.
In addition to his law enforcement duties, Eliason has served as coordinator of the school’s intramural sports program and as an advisor to the Role Models Club. And for the last 15 years he’s been a prom chaperone at the school.
“Where you really get to know the kids is at the events, not in the day-to-day activities as much,” Eliason said. “Getting to them on their time is when they’re most relaxed and will talk to you and get to know you.”
All the work he’s put in hasn’t gone unnoticed. Eliason was recently named the 2011 Minnesota Juvenile Officer of the Year by the state’s juvenile officer association.
The Apple Valley City Council held a ceremony at its meeting last week recognizing Eliason’s reception of the award.
“You are a shining example of what’s best in the world,” Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland told Eliason. “You can’t do anything finer than be a good role model for children. … We’re proud that you’re one of our finest.”
Eliason attended the ceremony at City Hall with his wife, Karen. The couple’s three college-age sons all attended school in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district.
Eliason admitted that when working with high school students, it helps to be able to think like a high school student.
“I’ve heard that (about Eliason) from teachers at the high school,” Council Member Tom Goodwin said. “They say he’s one of them, he can talk to these kids.”
Andrew Miller is at email@example.com.