HARRISON, N.Y. – Harrison police officer Richard Abbate was chosen as the new School Resource Officer for Harrison High School.
With the program's return announced at the Jan. 30 Harrison Board of Education meeting, Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini is wasting no time in getting the officer the proper training.
He requested that the Town Board allow Abbate to attend the School Resource Officer course at Monroe Community College from Feb. 18 to Feb. 22. Funding for the trip, not to exceed $2,000, is available in the school budget.
A Monroe Community College press release describes the course as "a blending of all skills an individual brings to the position," including "law enforcement, parent, brother, sister, educator, advisor, resource and public servant."
"The officer will leave with valuable information, knowledge and resources to explore new skills that provide insight and a better understanding of the duties and expectations of the SRO," said the release.
The program was pushed heavily by Marraccini, who stressed the importance to town board members at several meetings after the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Resource officers are placed in schools not to provide security but to connect with students, Marraccini said. The program, which had been in existence from 2006 to 2011, is expected to return sometime in February.
“We need to entrench (police officers) and build relationships with our children,” Marraccini said at the Town Board meeting on Dec. 20. “The kids are surrounding the police officer with smiles and asking him questions. That’s the type of relationship I want our kids to think about police.”
Superintendent Lou Wool thanked the police chief for his strong commitment to school security calling him "an extraordinarily helpful partner."
The next Town Board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Municipal Building, 1 Heineman Place.