Ramsey May Hire School Resource Police Officer
The board of education said the officer would not be an armed guard, but may carry a weapon while at school
The Ramsey Board of Education is looking into whether or not it should hire a School Resource Officer, and what benefits having a police officer on the campuses of Ramsey schools might have on school safety.
According to Board Member Jim Meiman, who heads an ad hoc school security committee, district officials recently met with Saddle River Detective Sergeant Tim Gerity, a state certified SRO, to find out more about what having a police officer at school all the time could do for Ramsey students.
The committee is now working to draft what it feels would be an appropriate job description for the SRO to present to the board a more defined idea of what the officer would do.
“We know we would want it to be someone who could deal with large groups, a security specialist, someone who could look at video surveillance if we add that to the high school, oversee security drills and set an overall positive tone in the school,” Meiman said. The SRO would likely be headquartered at the high school, but could potentially work in the younger schools as well, he said.
The committee is also looking into proposing a salary level for the potential SRO.
According to Meiman, the district could hire an active police officer, or a retired one, to fill the role.
“With a retired officer you’d get more experience for less cost, since that person would already be receiving a pension and [have] health care coverage,” he said during a presentation to the rest of the board of education at its meeting Tuesday night.
Board and committee member Richard Muti added the SRO, “would not be an armed guard.” But, the officer, “may or may not carry a weapon,” while at school, he said.
The board of education said it started looking into whether or not it should hire an active or retired police officer to act as a school resource officer before the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, which has started a national conversation about police officers and armed guards in America's schools.
According to the National Association of School Resource Officers website, school- based policing is the fastest growing area of law enforcement. There are about 3,000 SROs across the globe, NASRO says.
Meiman said he would return to the board with more information once the committee has compiled a description of what an SROs responsibilities in Ramsey would include. The group is also planning a public presentation next Tuesday night about proposed security upgrades at Ramsey High School.