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Greenfield School Committee reviewing school resource officer memorandum



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

GREENFIELD — If the city wants two new school resource officers, it may have to wait for the OK from the School Committee.

The School Committee is revisiting a memorandum of understanding between the school and police departments regarding the current school resource officer position. The review comes as the potential addition of two school resource officers are part of this year’s budget proposed by Mayor William Martin.

According to School Committee Chairwoman Adrienne Nunez, her committee wants to review a memorandum of understanding about the position before moving ahead with expanding the program.

“We have a fairly new committee that wants to get a better understanding of the program, wants to have a chance to review language in the memorandum, have a more solid comprehension before recommendation,” Nunez said.

The memorandum’s review will begin at the Health, Safety and Facilities Subcommittee on May 1. Depending on how the review goes, it could reach the School Committee during its May 9 meeting.

According to Nunez, the memorandum currently addresses the duties and responsibilities of one school resource officer. If it were determined two additional school resource officers were needed, then the memorandum would need to be changed, Nunez said.

That could include multiple meetings, public input and a committee vote on changes.

Nunez said that when the current memorandum was drafted, it took the committee several months to complete. While she was uncertain if a similar timeline would play out, she said that the committee “will take whatever time we need as a group to come to a conclusion.”

The two officers will be covered in the Police Department budget, unlike the agreement currently established for the one resource officer on staff, for whom the school department pay a portion of the cost.

The cost expected for two additional school resource officers, if approved, is $114,000. The cost is different than the $215,000 initially requested by Martin, who said in a recent meeting that the difference was due to a clerical error.

During the School Committee’s meeting last week, several residents questioned the need for two additional officers in Greenfield schools.

According to Police Chief Robert Haigh, the school officer is valuable because of their familiarity and relationship with faculty and students.

He said that without the school officer, if an issue arises that requires police, a responding patrol officer wouldn’t have the rapport with students and staff and an arrest is more likely to occur.

“That’s really important ... having a good relationship with administration and the students and the different divisions and areas that the school knows of,” he said.

Reach Dan Desrochers at:

ddesrochers@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 257