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Latrobe hires school resource officer

| Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 12:11 a.m.

Latrobe council chose an Irwin man as a school resource officer for the Greater Latrobe School District.

Frank Tempo, 27, is a former Marine who currently works as a Westmoreland County Parks police officer and as a municipal policeman in two communities.

Pending physical and psychiatric evaluations, he will become the 13th officer in the city's police department to patrol all five school buildings when classes are in session.

During the council meeting Monday, police Chief Jim Bumar said he was happy to recommend Tempo for the position.

“His military training and his combat experience, it goes without saying, it's just invaluable,” Bumar said after the meeting. “He's articulate, he's polished, and I think he'll make a great officer.”

Tempo, a Bovard native, graduated from Hempfield Area High School in 2005, then joined the Marine Corps. He served from 2005 to 2009, including a tour of duty in Iraq as a combat engineer searching for improvised explosive devices.

He said he turned down a re-enlistment bonus to become a police officer.

Tempo works full-time with the Westmoreland County Park Police and part-time with the Monessen and Perryopolis departments.

He said after the meeting he looks forward to the new job, which he will begin within the next few weeks.

“I'm going to be working hands-on on the street and at the same time I can use my experience and discipline at the school district, so I think it's going to be a good experience,” Tempo said.

The position, which has been under consideration since February, was a cooperative measure between the city, Unity and school district. Tempo was one of 10 candidates to begin the hiring process with a physical agility test, Bumar said. That number was whittled down with a standardized written test from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, then the top three scorers were interviewed by Bumar and Greater Latrobe Superintendent Judith Swigart and Mike Porembka, director of Teaching and Learning.

Porembka said after the meeting Tempo was a clear choice.

“I think our kids will respect him, I think our kids will admire him and ... I think he'll prove a great role model for our kids,” Porembka said.

Bumar said the city will provide Tempo with a new police car purchased completely by private donations and funds from such sources as the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation.

The foundation began a new safety and security fund that has been pledged to the officer's position, including $7,600 on the Day of Giving, $15,000 in donations and $12,000 in pending grants.

For the first three years, the school resource officer's salary will be funded by a grant through the state Department of Education and contributions from the school district.

Bumar said the patrol car, a 2014 Dodge Charger will cost about $30,000 and will be designated for the resource officer.

Mayor Rosie Wolford said during the meeting she believed all involved will benefit and was heartened to see the community contribute to the program's success.

“The residents of this great city always step up,” she said.

After receiving proper training through the city and school district, Tempo will be ready to be in the schools on the first day of the 2014-15 school year, as was originally planned.

Bumar commended officials from the school district and municipalities.

“It worked out so well that we were right on time,” he said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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