HARRISON, N.Y. – The school resource officer program will return to Harrison High School in February, Superintendent Lou Wool said during his report to the Harrison Board of Education on Wednesday night.
“We’re overwhelmed,” Wool said after the meeting. “We’re really excited. We can’t wait to get back what was a very successful program.”
Resource officers are placed in schools not to provide security but to connect with students, he said. The program, which had been in existence from 2006 to 2011, is expected to return in early February.
It was pushed heavily by Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini, who stressed the importance to town board members at several meetings after the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Wool thanked the chief for his strong commitment to school security.
“The chief of police continues to be an extraordinarily helpful partner,” said Wool. “He has sent several candidates to the high school to be interviewed to fulfill the role of school resource officer and that position should be back in operation in early February. I’m grateful for his assistance in doing that and his commitment to making sure we have the right fit.”
The SRO program, Marraccini said, will be one factor in securing Harrison schools.
“We need to entrench them [police officers] and build relationships with our children,” he said at the Town Board meeting 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.”
Although Wool and Marraccini had initially called for the SRO program for LMK Middle School, too, the DARE program will continue at that school.
Wool also addressed security at the schools, including a report given to the board by a security consulting company hired to check all of the Harrison schools with the chief. A second security consulting company has also been hired to go over all school premises and generate a similar report.
Many of upgrades and changes in security cannot be discussed publicly, Wool said. But improvements are being made to create the safest environment for students and staff, he said.
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