WESTFIELD, NJ— Six years after the position was eliminated due to budget cuts, on June 11 the Westfield Board of Education plans to reinstate the job of School Resource Officer (SRO). The officer’s salary would be shared by the school district and the town and the Westfield Police Department would have authority over the officer, according to the school district.
The officer, who could be armed, would be subject to all rules and regulations and policies of the Westfield Police Department and would have undergone training as an SRO.
According to the school district, in the past the SRO was located primarily at Westfield High School and held several responsibilities, including providing assistance in programs for peer mediation and peer leadership; instructing specialized short-term programs on such topics such as security, crime prevention, drug and alcohol education and the criminal and the juvenile justice system; taking necessary action regarding trespassers, suspicious persons and conditions, the illegal use, sale and/or distribution of controlled dangerous substances, disruptions and disturbances, criminal offenses and report significant action, occurrences and conditions; recommending measures to protect school and personal property, assisting school personnel in dealing with emergencies and assisting in truancy investigations; and providing an opportunity for students who want to speak privately with the officer and developing a trusting and positive relationship between law enforcement and youth.
Though the position was removed due to budget cuts about six years ago, as a result of the success that the SRO had in the past and the current Anti-Bullying Law’s emphasis on safe, respectful and secure school climates, plus the growing population of the high school, the position was included in the 2013-2014 budget that was approved this spring, according to the district.
The Board of Education meeting on June 11 will take place at 7:30 in room 105 at the administration building, 302 Elm Street.