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Greenwich High to get a second school resource officer

August 24, 2018

GREENWICH — Greenwich High School will have a second school resource officer this year, town officials announced Friday.

Greenwich Police will announce the interim school resource officer next week, Greenwich Police Capt. Robert Berry said. This candidate “has extensive knowledge” and will be able to train the officer the department will choose to fill the position for the long term.

The town, the Greenwich Police Department and school officials, Interim Greenwich Public Schools Superintendent Ralph Mayo and the Board of Education, made the decision together, according to a statement from First Selectman Peter Tesei.

The school’s first resource officer, Carlos Franco, stepped down this summer after 11 years in the post. During the spring semester, he trained the current School Resource Officer, Hayes Sgaglio, so she would be ready to take over Franco’s role when he left to work in criminal investigations.

“For those, five six months, we had two SROs on campus, and we saw a lot of positive outcomes from that,” Berry said.

Similar to Sgaglio, the department’s goal is to have that person in place by January, Berry said. By the end of June 2019, Sgaglio and the new school resource officer will be in place.

“By adding a second SRO police, school and town officials expect there will be an increase of positive outcomes that were previously achieved,” town officials said in a press release. “More importantly, this assignment will address growing concerns about school safety and security within the community - concerns that exist across the nation.”

The final budgetary arrangements are still being worked out, Berry said. The department wanted to get the position in place then work out the budget.

School resource officers work to provide safety on campus and foster relationships with youth. They also help develop strategies to resolve problems affecting students.

Greenwich SROs function as guest lecturers, informal counselors and law enforcement officers. They are trained and certified through the National Association of School Resource Officers program.

Town and school officials and members of the community have weighed the pros and cons of adding a second school resource officer for more than a year, Berry said.

“It was just decided at this point that there are lots of benefits to having a second SRO and we wanted to initiate it for this year,” he said.

One benefit will be that two officers can cover a campus as large as Greenwich High’s more effectively, he said.

Still, no single factor contributed to the decision, he said. He did not attribute the addition to an increase in illegal or unsafe activity on campus.

“Security is just one aspect,” he said. “They are a teacher. The feedback we’ve gotten from students as whole is very receptive of having a SRO.”

jo.kroeker@hearstmediact.com

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