Weathersfield board OKs hiring of school resource officer

WEATHERSFIELD — The Weathersfield Board of Education on Tuesday approved hiring a school resource officer under a three-year contract with Weathersfield Township.

The hiring of a school resource officer with costs shared between the district and the township was one stipulation the Board of Education put forth when it approved transferring district-owned land that once housed a middle school to the township. The township, which is seeking funds from the 2018 state capital budget for a proposed $500,000 community center, already has made a number of improvements to the land along state Route 46, including construction of a gazebo through grant funds.

Weathersfield Schools Superintendent Damon Dohar said the school hasn’t had a police presence for at least 20 years and he’s happy to move forward with the program. It will cost about $98,500 over the course of three years to pay for the officer, he said, with costs being split equally.

The officer will help the district with a number of issues that involve students, Dohar said, while also providing an opportunity for kids to have pleasant interactions with a member of law enforcement rather than only seeing officers during difficult or troubling circumstances.

“We are excited to have a police officer in our district to work on safety plans and procedures,” Dohar said. “But they will also teach kids about not bullying and the dangers of opioids and any drugs, and most importantly, it will be nice to have a friendly face in a blue uniform.”

Township Trustee Chairman Gil Blair said the township is pleased the school district agreed to implement a school resource officer program.

“The township and the school district have been working towards this goal for some time and we believe that this program will benefit the students of the school district and our community as a whole,” he said.

The new officer will likely be on school grounds during school hours and possibly during special functions as well, Dohar said.