Vicki Strebel (Fmr. SRO at NHS)
Students may see a new face walking the halls of NHS with the administrative staff. Officer Nathan (Nate) Franzke of the Neenah Police Department has recently started his 5-year tour of duty as the high school’s School Resource Officer. Officer Franzke joined the Neenah Police Department in 2016 after 2 years at the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department and 4 years as a Community Service Aide in Neenah.
Becoming a police officer was not always Officer Franzke’s dream.
“Growing up what do you know police families tell their kids because they go through all this stuff? Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.”
His father (a retired lieutenant in the Appleton Police Department) has always been, and remains, a major source of inspiration for Franzke. In his junior year of high school, Franzke was struggling with where to go in his future. So, he looked back.
“The thing that stuck out with it were the people who I grew up with and the families that we interacted with . . . Law enforcement, it’s very close together.”
He then went on a ride-along with an officer and family friend in the Appleton PD. That is where Franzke says the cop bug finally bit him. Franzke proceeded on to the Appleton PD’s Police Citizen’s Academy program. Soon enough, on his dad’s suggestion, he joined the Neenah Police Department’s Community Service Aide program.
During his time as a Community Service Aide in Neenah, Officer Franzke enrolled at UW-Oshkosh. Four years later he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Soon he completed his training to become a police officer and joined the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department. Franzke would not stay at Waukesha long, however, as he applied for and later joined the Neenah Police Department.
Franzke takes a rather refreshing approach to law enforcement. Just like his father, Officer Franzke is a member of the crisis negotiations team here in Neenah. Much like his father -who was on the crisis negotiations team in Appleton- Franzke prefers to talk things out and always strives for a peaceful resolution to conflict. Additionally, Officer Franzke is one of few people in the City of Neenah authorized to fly the city’s drone.
As he takes over as school resource officer, Officer Franzke continues to strive for excellence in everything he does within the community. He not only aims to create a safer environment for the school, but also a better relationship between the police department and the community.
“Us at the police department we’re going we’re normal people. We just have a job with arrest powers. right, and we’re just trying to have fun. We’re just trying to make it safe.”