A message from the Chief: *School Resource Officer*
As many of our residents are aware, we along with the school department will be requesting the new position of school resource officer at our annual town meeting scheduled for June 4th. I wanted to speak briefly about the position, our thought process and my support for this position. Apparently there are some misconceptions that we presently have a school resource officer full time in the schools. Unfortunately, this is not the situation. The police department does make “random” daily security checks, and Officer Thaxter teaches Dare classes two days a month. Despite our best efforts to date we as a department and community need to do more. I believe over the past six years of these security checks it has strengthened our working relationship with school personnel, but more importantly it has allowed all of our officers to get to know many of your children on a more personal level. I believe this relationship alone has made our schools safer, students feel officers are more approachable and it’s because of this relationship that students are much more willing to pass on information.
As Chief of police, I believe the security of our schools should be the responsibility of the police department. Although we have started our proactive approach to make our schools a safer place while building these relationships I believe we need to do more. At this time the police departments current staffing levels are below (1997) and without the passage of this article we simple can’t provide for this position. Some of the duties of the school resource officer will be to take over complete security of ALL West Bridgewater School buildings, proactively review and change procedures and security concerns, he/she will be a visible deterrent but more importantly allow our children the comfort level of knowing we are present, prepared and their safety is our number one concern. No child should have to worry about their safety while at school.
It’s difficult to stop individuals with such hate in their heart from causing such senseless harm but we must be visible, create conditions and build relationships to prevent such an attempt before it happens. We must never think of having a police officer in the schools as a negative. We must take advantage and focus on the positive aspects utilizing their experience and expertise while we continue to build solid relationship with our youth. This relationship and trust will benefit all involved today and the years to come.
Please contact me with any questions or concerns.