City approves deal to supply Greater Latrobe with school resource officer
In approving an agreement with Greater Latrobe School District to hire a school resource officer, Latrobe Councilwoman Julie Bisi said she hopes students can find a mentor in the city police officer.
“I think most often when you hear of tragedies like what happened at Franklin Regional, somebody knew something, but in foresight you just don't pick up on it,” said Bisi, who is a member of the public safety committee. “Maybe having yet another adult around that kids trust, they'll feel a little bit more open.”
Council unanimously approved the agreement and gave city manager Alex Graziani permission to hire the officer at Monday's meeting.
Police Chief Jim Bumar said he wanted to distinguish this position from that of an armed guard, which has a “very narrow description.”
Like a guard, the school resource officer will be armed and have all police powers, in addition to the ability to patrol school buildings and grounds as well as investigate and enforce the law, but the position includes other responsibilities, Bumar said.
“The school resource officer will be a proactive officer, a mentor or role-model figure,” he said, which could include leading educational programs addressing drug and alcohol abuse, conflict resolution, bullying, or cyber crime and exploitation.
“We need to show our students that an authority figure should be respected, not feared, and that an authority figure can help them with problems they may be encountering,” Bumar said.
Officials at Greater Latrobe have been discussing the addition of a school resource officer since February.
When school is not in session, the officer will act as a full-time employee of the Latrobe Police Department responding to calls in the city.
For the first three years, the officer's salary will be funded by grant through the state Department of Education and contributions from the school district totaling $180,000, Graziani said. The base salary for the officer will be $21.79 per hour.
Mayor Rosie Wolford said the similar cost questions were fielded when the city hired a K-9 officer, but the city has funded that program mostly from outside sources, including fundraising.
“I'm hoping the Greater Latrobe community can pull together and help fund the additional costs,” she said after the meeting.
If costs to the city become too great, the agreement can be revisited, Wolford said.
Before the agreement was approved, Councilman Gerry Baldonieri asked whether Unity Township and state police officials should be involved, because four of the five school buildings are in the township, and state police respond to emergencies there.
“That will more than likely be determined by a court of law, but at the moment, my answer is no,” said solicitor Jim Kelly.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- United Way surplus funds benefit 9 nonprofits in Westmoreland County
- Penn Township man who shot friend gets probation
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Western Pa. retirees skip relaxing, instead head back to school
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Westmoreland County judge denies appeal of convicted wife killer
- Route 981 sewage project could cost less
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes