By Emily Money
Deputy Matthew Leggat has been our WLC School Liaison Officer since March of last year, watching over our school and ensuring our safety. But does anyone actually know who he is?
As a Deputy II road patrol officer for the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Leggat has been on road patrol for four years and spent eight years before that in the jail as a Deputy I and later Deputy II Supervisor.
Walled Lake Consolidated Schools originally had one liaison officer to cover every school in the district. When the township and the school board agreed to fund two additional positions in the schools, Leggat turned in a letter of interest for one of the positions. He was chosen by the principals of all three high schools and a sergeant from the Sheriff’s office.
“Walled Lake Central was my first choice and I was lucky enough to be immediately assigned here,” said Leggat. “Officially my job is to be the Liaison between the school district and the Sheriff’s office and my function would be to handle any criminal and civil matters that come up within Walled Lake schools. The reality is that my job is to be as flexible as possible and to focus on the preventative nature of law enforcement instead of the reactive nature,” Leggat added. He mainly deals with medical emergencies, fights, drugs, and theft, but hopes that the number of incidents will fall this year.
Leggat’s process of becoming our police liaison officer may surprise some, however. When he was in high school, he was not a model student. “I did not have any kind of direction and I graduated with a 1.8 GPA. I was in trouble with the police in Northville and every one of them knew my name,” said Leggat. “I remember thinking that it was great having that reputation…having an identity (even a bad one) was worth the trouble to continue to earn that reputation.”
Leggat joined the Army when he turned eighteen and was in active service for ten years. “When I joined the Army, I learned what it was like to be part of something larger than myself and once that realization kicked in, my work ethic and moral compass adjusted for that. From that point on, I decided I had to have a job with meaning. Service before self-serving,” said Leggat.
During his time in the service, he attended college sporadically, but never completed a four-year degree. “It’s my biggest regret and one I am currently rectifying,” he adds.
He also married his first wife and had a son during this time, and eventually left the Army and applied for police departments so he wouldn’t miss his son growing up. His son has highly-functioning autism and is now eighteen. He also has a thirteen year old step-daughter from his third and current marriage, and he and his wife are planning to have another child together soon.
When he is not hard at work at WLC, Leggat enjoys numerous outdoor activities. “My free time is spent doing as much as possible that is non-electronic,” remarked Leggat. He runs and is part of an ice hockey league. He is also going back to college to finish his degree, and is considering law school.