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Franklin Regional tabs new resource officer

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A new Murrysville police officer will be on hand at Franklin Regional later this summer.

Officer Dave Hanko will take the role of school resource officer beginning in August, Chief Tom Seefeld said Monday.

“Officer Hank is looking forward to the new challenge,” Seefeld said. “I have all the confidence in him, knowing that he'll do an exceptional job.”

Hanko replaces officer William “Buzz” Yakshe, a 20-year veteran Murrysville police officer who retired in May, nearly a month after a Franklin Regional teen was accused of a stabbing rampage at the high school.

Yakshe had served as school resource officer since 2004.

Hanko, a 26-year veteran of the Murrysville police department, will be the district's third resource officer since 2000. Yakshe succeeded officer Joe Bergamasco, who retired in 2004.

Franklin Regional officials are elated to continue offering the program.

“We are so pleased to continue our relationship with the Murrysville Police Department,” Assistant Superintendent Mary Catherine Reljac said.

Replacing Yakshe isn't easy, she said. He built strong relationships with students at the district's five schools during the past 10 years.

“He has been a fixture here in the school district,” Reljac said. “He has done a lot to develop relationships with students. Those relationships have been positive and an asset to the school district.”

Hanko will undergo school resource officer training in August, Seefeld said, and will be ready to take over the position when the school year begins later that month.

Murrysville Council reauthorized the school resource program last month; Franklin Regional officials will vote on the reauthorization next month.

Effective school resource officers balance happy, welcoming environments with safety-conscious procedures, said Joe Kozarian, school resource officer for Brentwood Borough School District and a trainer for the National Association of School Resource Officers.

The demand for training has increased by 300 percent since 2012, Kozarian said.

He oversees training for school resource officers in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.

Staff writer Megan Harris contributed. Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2365, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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