Mathews addresses DARE replacement

Board concerned over trustees’ pick

VIENNA — With the resignation of former Mathews resource officer Michael Sheehy — who also served as the district’s DARE officer — school officials are a facing new controversy with plans on how to replace him.

Vienna Township trustees, at the recommendation of police Chief Bob Ludt, appointed Theresa Hartman as the DARE officer. But board of education members said they have “issues of concern” over the officer who served with Vienna police from 2008 to 2013 before going to Hartford as part-time police officer.

Superintendent Russell McQuaide said Ludt submitted Hartman’s name as the person for the drug education (DARE) position and to work out a contract. He did not say if any other law enforcement agencies were contacted of providing a DARE officer or SRO.

Trustee Heidi Brown said township trustees are willing to work with the school board following Sheehy’s resignation on filling the positions.

Sheehy resigned following accusations of stealing guns and money from the police department. He also was charged with possession of fentanyl, and was indicted on misdemeanor charges of petty theft and possessing criminal tools and on six felony charges — two counts of theft in office, two counts of breaking and entering, aggravated possession of drugs and grand theft.

“There was a very serious issue that we feel was resolved quickly and thoroughly, and that issue must be put behind us as we move forward,” Brown said.

Brown asked why trustees were not part of a recent board executive session to address the DARE position.

Board President Tarin Brown said it was an executive session on personnel. He said the school board has never been invited or included in trustee executive sessions in the past.

Heidi Brown said if it was a mutual employee for both township and schools, she would have allowed the school board at the meeting.

Tarin Brown said the “mutual employee is one trustees chose to put here” but noted the board had concerns with the selection since Hartman left Vienna for Hartford and there was also issues with previous evaluations of her.

The issues were not specified by the board or trustees.

Heidi Brown said there is no prior incident that should prevent Hartman from being the DARE officer. She said Hartman is one of only three DARE officers trained in Trumbull County with two others employed somewhere else.

“You have to have an officer trained to be a DARE officer. Vienna Township sent her for training. Why would we not hire her?” she said.

McQuaide said the board will work with the township noting “it has been a frustrating situation” for all.

Four Vienna police officers are now filling in the resource officer position on a rotating basis, Heidi Brown said.