Chartiers Valley schools to see police presence

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All Chartiers Valley schools will be staffed with armed, uniformed school resource officers following approvals by Collier and Scott commissioners Tuesday.

Scott had approved hiring a resource officer for the intermediate school Dec. 27 with the hire occurring Tuesday night. Collier approved hiring two resource officers on Jan. 16 -- one for the high school and connecting middle school and the second for the primary school through the end of 2014.

"I'm pleased we got it worked out," said Collier Commissioner Tim Young, who is a retired principal of Chartiers Valley High School.

Though Mr. Young said he does not see a dangerous environment in the district, he says peoples' perceptions are different since the Newtown, Conn., school shootings in December.

"Times have changed," he said. "Bullying is one of the more difficult things to get a handle on. Now, with social media, it's harassing and bullying 24/7."

He recalled that when he was principal, all he needed was a master key to get into the building. Now, electronic swipe cards are required so [school officials] can monitor who is entering a school.

He said parents and teachers are demanding resource officers, whose duties involve building security, devising crime prevention and anti-bullying programs, assisting with criminal law investigations on school property and counseling students as requested by principals.

The officers will be employees of the municipality, will work eight-hour days during the school year, will report to the Collier and Scott police chiefs and will provide a weekly report of their activities. In the summer, they will be on duty in the two towns.

The district will be billed $7,500 a month this year and $7,875 in 2014. These amounts include overtime. Township managers will compare the costs to the budgeted costs at the end of each calendar year to see if the school district is owed a refund.

Bill Oslick and Steve Oberle will serve as officers in Collier. Edward Povirk, who retired from the Scott police force in 2005 after 21 years with the department, will be the other officer. He also served as a Chartiers Valley DARE officer for 10 years.

The officers will attend a training course at Bethel Park High School later this month. Scott Police Chief Jim Secreet said a current officer will handle resource duties at the intermediate school until Mr. Povirk is recertified for police work. He expects Mr. Povirk to be on the job within the first two weeks of February.

"I think it's a good fit for our department," Chief Secreet said after Scott's meeting, pointing out that Mr. Povirk "left the department in good standing" when he took early retirement. He added that the First Class Township Code permits such reinstatements.

The Chartiers Valley school board also unanimously approved the resource officer agreements with Collier and Scott Tuesday. The current agreements may be extended beyond 2014.

education - neigh_west - neigh_south

Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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