Cop goes to school. It’s his job.

School Resource Officer Brad Riddiough loves that his law enforcement job is in a educational setting at the Cedar Grove-Belgium and Oostburg districts. BRAD RIDDIOUGH WORKED as a law enforcement officer, for a prison transport company and as a flight attendant before becoming a school resource officer. Photos by Sam Arendt


Ozaukee Press staff

Brad Riddiough has always enjoyed education and law enforcement, and now he’s got the best of both.

The Madison native who taught fifth grade for three years followed by decades at a sheriff’s office, private prisoner transport business and an airline now goes to school every day, either in the Cedar Grove-Belgium or Oostburg districts.

“It’s the perfect blend of two loves and two professions. I like to build relationships with kids and be someone they can look up to and trust,” he said.

His responsibilities include cultivating relationships with students, assisting on truancy calls and helping those in trouble navigate what can be a scary criminal justice system, but much of his work boils down to one skill.

“The biggest aspect of this job is communication — talking to people,” Riddiough said.

Everything he does is guided by his goal:“At the end of the school day I want every student and staff member to go home safely.”

He is not one who believes “it can’t happen here” when it comes to school tragedies.

“I wake up every day knowing I could make the ultimate sacrifice,” Riddiough said. “I know what I signed up for.”

Riddiough is a sworn officer with the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department but is paid by the school districts.

Riddiough spends three days per week in one district, two in the other, then vice versa the following week.

He thought most of his time would be spent in the high schools, but it’s actually one level younger, in middle schools  where,  he said, students “are impulsive.  They don’t always think things through,” Riddiough said.

His role isn’t punitive at that age, but he does warn them that certain behaviors would lead to being arrested as adults.

For first-time offenders, Riddiough said he sees his role as that of a parent. He counsels students to help them make better decisions.

“You made a mistake today,” he tells them. “I won’t hold it against you. I never will. After today, we move on.”

He can relate to some of what students do wrong.

“I wasn’t always the best kid growing up. I spent some time in the principal’s office,” Riddiough said.

When an offense reaches a higher level, Riddiough doesn’t want to be the one putting on the handcuffs.

“If I’m not the arresting officer, it keeps me as the good cop, if you will,” he said.

“When people are getting in trouble, I’m always on the kids’ side,” Riddiough said. “It can be a scary process. I can be that advocate to them.”

Riddiough knows his job doesn’t end when the day’s final school bell rings. He often takes calls at home and attends sporting events and concerts at both school districts.

“It’s a public relations opportunity,” he said.

Riddiough said he had a phenomenal high school principal and aspired to that role, but while teaching fifth grade he always had the itch to be a police officer.

He jumped at the chance when someone encouraged him to enter the field. He spent one year in Dane County, then the next 20 in Sheboygan County, which also sent him to training.

“From the day I started the police academy I knew it was where I belonged,” Riddiough said.

In Sheboygan, Riddiough served in a mix of roles with increasing responsibility. He supervised the dive team, motorcycle unit and dispatch center, and was a member of the honor guard, training officer and an evidence technician. Riddiough was a patrol sergeant for eight years, then a lieutenant.

The Oostburg resident retired in 2015 and became a member of a private prisoner transport company, created by a colleague who saw a need for the industry. The company sends one person to escort prisoners back to Wisconsin instead of the sheriff’s office sending two deputies, pulling on its manpower.

Riddiough traveled 150,000 miles per year, from places as far as Fairbanks, Alaska, to Florida and back. Between connecting flights and delays, shifts could reach 30 hours.

The time away from family ­— he has been married for 30 years and has two adult children — took its toll after a few years, and Riddiough tried his hand at another career in which he took an interest. In 2021, he joined Delta Airlines as a flight attendant. That schedule, too, kept him away from home too much, and the Oostburg School District had started looking for a part-time school resource officer when its officer retired.

Riddiough took that job and later was hired by Cedar Grove-Belgium as well. Oostburg Supt. Kevin Bruggink and Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Chad Brakke worked out a schedule.

Brakke said Riddiough has been a great addition to the district, relating to students, staff members and parents, and in leading safety training for the staff.

“Officer Riddiough has fit right in here in the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District, and we feel very fortunate to have him on our team,” Brakke said.

Riddiough was back to working five days per week, but it was close to home.

He doesn’t take summers off, either. Riddiough serves as an officer in Oostburg, which mostly entails reminding people to take care of their yards.

“I like to work. I want to be busy,” he said.

In his spare time, Riddiough likes to ride motorcycles, officiate football, softball and baseball games, and come spring he starts work on his annual Christmas lights display, which has become a popular attraction in the area.

Riddiough’s house and yard are filled with figures and lights that follow along to different songs. People stopping by are asked to turn to 87.9 FM to hear the matching music.

“I spend almost my whole year programming and planning this,” he said. “It’s a passion. If it gives people a little Christmas spirit and puts a smile on their face, then it’s worth it.”



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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