Plum officials preparing for addition of second school resource officer
A second school resource officer likely will be on the job in January in Plum School District.
Council members on Aug. 11 will consider a policy and job descriptions for both positions, as well as authorizing police Chief Jeffrey Armstrong to send a Plum officer to resource-officer training next month.
“We want to make sure our officer is ready when they (school district officials) are ready for us,” Councilman Steve “Skip” Taylor said during Monday night's meeting.
One officer is at the high school, and another will be based at Oblock Junior High School beginning in January.
Armstrong said he plans to send the second officer, who has not been selected, to a National Association of School Resource Officers training class next month in northeast Pennsylvania.
The second officer would perform traffic-enforcement duties during school breaks and in the summer when school is not in session, Armstrong said,
“We want the officer to provide the maximum usefulness to the department,” he said.
“When he is not in school, he will address traffic problems.”
Plum police officer Mark Kost, the current resource officer based at the high school, moves to patrol duties when school is not in session.
The chief said he will post the job description and develop a process for selecting the second resource officer.
The school board voted on June 30 to create a second resource officer position to begin duties on Jan. 1.
Members also approved the 2014-15 budget, which includes $50,000 for a second Plum police officer's salary and benefits.
The district budgeted $152,659 for the two officers.
The district, for the first time, is paying 70 percent of the cost of the resource-officer program.
The borough picks up the remaining 30 percent.
Kost was appointed the district's first school resource officer in 2002.
He teaches Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE, classes to the district's sixth-graders in the five elementary schools.
School resource officers serve in a law-enforcement capacity and as instructors and counselors.
Discussion about a second resource officer began in April, after the mass stabbing at nearby Franklin Regional High School where 20 students and a security guard were injured on April 9.
Student Alex Hribal, 16, has been charged as an adult in connection with the stabbings.
Hribal entered a plea of not guilty on 21 counts of attempted homicide and aggravated assault and a single count of possession of a weapon on school property.
No trial date has been set.
Plum Superintendent Timothy Glasspool proposed a second resource officer at the Oblock campus that, beginning in the 2015-16 school year, will be home to the new Holiday Park Elementary School.
Plum, with about 4,000 students, reported 58 incidents including simple assault, fighting, theft and disorderly conduct during the 2012-13 school year, compared to 86 incidents in the 2011-12 school year, according to the state Department of Education.
The district reported five incidents involving law enforcement in the 2012-13 school year, compared with 10 during the 2011-12 school year.
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.