There’s a “good chance” school resource officers could be working inside the Chartiers Valley middle/high and primary schools next year.
Collier Township commissioners and several Chartiers Valley School District officials met Wednesday to discuss implementing the program and the role the police officers would play while at the schools.
Bob Schuler, president of the Collier Board of Commissioners, said they were concerned about making sure the township was ultimately in control of the police officers and that they weren’t just security guards.
“It was a good meeting,” Schuler said. “A good discussion.”
Chartiers Valley Superintendent Brian While Jr. and school directors Pam Poletti, Debbie Rice, Jamie Stevenson and Sandy Zeleznik met with the board before Collier’s month workshop meeting Wednesday night. Schuler thinks there is a “good chance” the two sides will be able to negotiate a contract to add officers to the two school campuses in Collier.
Scott Township commissioners appear to be farther along in the process after agreeing last month to negotiate a contract with the school district.
Scott Township police Chief Jim Screet said in an interview with Chartiers Valley Patch earlier Wednesday that the school district had made a “generous offer” to provide most of the funding for the officer at the intermediate school. He added that the officer would teach programs such as anti-bullying classes, and could patrol the township during summer break.
Collier Township Manager Sal Sirabella said they’re pleased the officer will have more roles than just providing security.
“It’s very important to the commissioners that (the officers) are not just walking the halls,” Sirabella said. “They don’t just want hall monitors. It has to also be an asset for the community.”
Schuler took that idea further by acknowledging the role the schools play in the community.
“It’s our job to protect the community, and the schools are a big part of that,” Schuler said.
Commissioner Tim Young said the negotiations are continuing and they still have more details to discuss. He said no decisions have been made.
But Sirabella said they were impressed by the strategic plan put forward by the school district and the preparation put into the process.
“It was very enlightening to see what their entire plan is and how they’ve developed that over the years,” Sirabella said.
There is no timeline on the process and even Schuler admitted it could take awhile to hammer out a deal.
“It has to be a good, joint effort, and I think it will come about,” Schuler said. “But it will take time.”