After a 25-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police, Brian Shuba, 48, added a new chapter to his employment history. He recently began his role as school police officer for Jefferson-Morgan School District.
Judge Farley Toothman swore in Shuba on Oct. 1 and Shuba’s first day was Monday, Oct. 7.
“Officer Shuba brings a wealth of experience and talent to our school district, and we are extremely happy to have him join our family,” said Joseph Orr, superintendent. “The position of school officer is new to our district, and we feel it’s an important one for the safety and well being of our students and staff. He’s a family man, and we feel he brings with him a unique perspective to the position.”
Shuba was born and raised in German Township (Fayette County) where he still resides with his wife Amy and three sons Brock, 12, Baret, 11, and Birk, 7.
“Amy and I built our house a year before we married and moved in on our wedding night,” he said.
Shuba got into law enforcement at an early age. After graduating from the Albert Gallatin School District, he worked in construction for several years, including a stint with the Columbia Gas Transmission Division in Masontown and Waynesburg.
However, on his 20th birthday, he applied for a Pennsylvania State Police Officer position and was accepted into the Academy a couple months after his next birthday.
After completing six months of training, he was promoted from the rank of cadet to trooper and worked out of Troop A in the Somerset and Greensburg stations for three years. In 1995, he transferred to the Troop B station in Waynesburg.
“I served the majority of my career out of the Greene County barracks in Waynesburg, which I consider my home station,” Shuba said. “It was a very close knit unit of officers that had a family atmosphere. We all followed one another’s kids and their activities, and went to a lot of their ball games. The barracks didn’t experience a lot of turnover, and the 20 to 25 officers working there were like family.”
Right out of the gate, Shuba became a representative in the Fraternal Order of Police and the Pennsylvania State Police Association. The last six years of his career with the state police he also held a position with the members assistance program, a unique position that helped troopers and their families with a wide range of needs, especially after stressful incidents like shootings.
“It was a highly confidential assignment and a great resource for our officers to fall back on in time of need,” he said.
Around 2002, Shuba became a vehicle fraud investigator for Troop B in the Uniontown barracks and was promoted to the rank of corporal in 2005. He transferred back to the Waynesburg barracks in 2006 where he served out the rest of his career as patrol supervisor.
Over the years, incidents that stand out in his mind involve either children or the elderly. He said in his career he also had to deliver death messages to loved ones in person dozens of times, a duty that he said was never easy for him.
After 25 years service with the State Police, he said he thought it was time to retire.
“It is not an easy career for a married officer,” he said. “My wife and I are best of friends, and she was always supportive of my career, even though I worked all hours of the night and holidays and was sometimes called out from the dinner table.”
He retired from the force on October 7, 2016 and for the next three years worked as a stay-at-home dad while his wife went back to work as a substitute teacher. She’s now a full time teacher at Trinity Christian School in Morgantown, where the couple’s three sons are enrolled.
“Our sons are healthy, active in school, athletic and take their academics seriously,” Shuba said. “I’m very proud of them.”
While he enjoys spending time with his family, he also felt the need to give something back to the community. He sees the role of school police officer as a way to contribute to the community by taking steps to keep children safe.
“It’s fortunate that our school district takes school safety seriously. There are good policies in place, and I feel I can enhance them,” he said. “For the most part, we have a safe operation and everyone, from the school board and superintendent to the principals and staff, take safety seriously. The district definitely has something special going on and has a great atmosphere. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Shuba said he is currently in the initial phase of learning the campus and assessing its weaknesses.
Trained by the Pennsylvania State Police in active shooter incidents as both a patrol trooper and a supervisor, he said he’s a believer in a direct line of communication, one in which staff feels comfortable coming to him if they see something that just isn’t right.
“I believe a direct line of communication is critical for a safe and secure environment, and I look forward to my new assignment,” he said. “It’s one that can’t be taken lightly.”