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Proust Questionnaire: Mike Reilly


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The Proust Questionnaire, named after French writer Marcel Proust, is a series of 35 questions meant to gauge the personality and values of the answerer. This week, The Shield interviewed School Resource Officer Mike Reilly, asking him an abridged and edited version of the questions.

The Shield: What is your greatest fear?

Mike Reilly: If we are going phobias, I hate heights. If we are going just on a personal level I guess being a failure to my kids would probably be the best example of that because you always wanna live up to be everything they think of you and sometimes that’s a hard step to reach.

TS: How old are your kids?

MR: I have a 16-year-old boy, an 11-year-old boy, and an honorary 16-year-old girl that has seen me as a dad since she was about 5.

TS: What is a trait you most deplore?

MR: I’m a big fan of honesty, so lying is always gonna put you in a worse spot with me than if you were to just be truthful with me from the get-go.

TS: Who is a living person you most look up to?

MR: That would have to be my dad because he pretty much worked all of his life away and was away from us. I don’t want to say [we] held it against him because I never did, but I know other members of my family did. You know if you look at everything he was able to do and accomplish and provide for our family, I really strive to be like him because he was really selfless.

TS: On what occasion do you lie?

MR: There’s certainly occasions that you lie, for example, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” and stuff like that. If you’re talking to a significant other, the answer is always “no, you look great.” It will do nothing but get you in trouble. Other than that like I said I’m an honest person almost to a fault. It actually gets me in more trouble more than I care to admit because people don’t always like honesty and they see it as me being a jerk. [I] lie when it’s necessary and does no harm.

TS: What character trait do you value most in a co-worker?

MR: I don’t know, I think I get along with pretty much everyone. Everyone has their own traits that I work well with. The thing I look for the most [is that] I like to laugh because if you’re not laughing, you’re dying.

TS: What character trait do you most value in a student?

MR: I like kids who give officers a chance. A lot of people judge me based on the uniform before they get to know me and just assume I’m the cookie cutter stereotypical cop that they see on TV and whatnot, and I’d rather them just come out and be open and willing to get to know me as a person and again [let me] get a fair chance at it so I can get to know them as well.

TS: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

MR: I’m horribly bad at putting LOL in texts. I almost always start or end a text with LOL.

TS: What has been the greatest moment you’ve had while being at McCallum?

MR: Just getting to know the kids. I don’t keep many of them up, but I get drawings from the kids and thank-you cards and just being able to provide a good memory of a cop because I didn’t have many of them when I was a kid. I actually didn’t like police when I was a kid so being able to be a good memory to the kids and just having them reach out and kinda let me know. For example, my handcuffs were a gift from a kid who graduated and they’re engraved with my name and badge number on them. So, my greatest memories are probably just getting to know the kids.

TS: Did you always want to be a cop?

MR: I either wanted to be a cop or a teacher so school cop just kinda seemed to fit. I was going to college to be a teacher, but my college ended the program and didn’t grandfather those who were already in it, so my senior year while I was student teaching, I had to find a new major. It’s funny because when I was in high school I wanted nothing more then [to be] out of high school and now I’m doomed to work in one for the rest of my life, which I’m actually happy about.

TS: If you could change anything about yourselves what would it be?

MR:I’d live in Pittsburgh. My kids live up there. My ex-wife took them and moved back near her family up there. So I’m forced to deal with them over the phones and PlayStations and all that fun stuff.

TS: What is your greatest regret?

MR:It would probably have to do with missing my opportunity. I had pretty much a shoe in the door to move up and work for the sheriff’s office in Pittsburgh. They called me on Sunday night needing me to get there on Monday morning, and I couldn’t get there because I didn’t have the money.

TS:-Well, that’s it.

MS: You didn’t get any of the fun questions by the way. Like did you know I grew up in Europe?

TS: How long did you live in Europe?

MR: I moved over there before I have any memories so I was born in the states but moved to Switzerland shortly after and lived in Lausanne. I lived there 4 or 5 years. It was awesome cause as I was learning I moved so I was forced to learn french so I was fluent in french and then towards middle school I moved to Frankfurt, well it was a little town called Glashütten but its outside of Frankfurt Germany so I went from southern english to french to german and I was fluent in all of them and then I moved over here to the U.S. and started high school and had a bizarre accent I guess. I didn’t notice, but others did. I’d try and mimic it but I don’t even think I could do it anymore. But if you want to know what it sounds like it sounds like you have no friends and people making fun of you. So there were times when I’d pretend I was an exchange student in school.

TS: What was the greatest place you lived in Europe?

MR: If you’re going by looks you have to go Switzerland cause It’s just the most beautiful place you could ever imagine because it’s got the Alps and the lake and you could do anything you wanted at any time. I mean our whole school went skiing every Friday; that was our day. But if you’re talking people, I created the best friends, and I still have them to this day, in Germany. But it’s kinda hard to have reunions because we are all over the world now.

TS: Are you still fluent in those French and German?

MR: I can get by in German. French I’ve forgotten most of and I regret it because like I said I was kinda picked on because of my accent so I did what a lot of stupid high schoolers would and I said I’m gonna stop speaking the language ’cause that will get rid of my accent and unfortunately it worked, so I lost a lot of my languages. But I’m trying to pick up German again cause it’s the one I miss the most. I still have weekly talks with my ex girlfriend where she will practice her English with me and I’ll practice my German on her. So actually, that would be a good regret if the other one is too serious. I regret forgetting the languages I knew.

TS: Where did you go to college?

MR: I went to college in Pittsburgh at La Roche College. I chased a girl, I had no intention of going to college but followed my ex-wife to college. I was going to be a teacher, I had a job lined up to be a German teacher taking over for my old German teacher in high school and I was student teaching for the kids I was gonna take over and then they ended the career and I had a son at that point so I just went into the workforce and did really well in the corporate world and then decided I was ready for a change.

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