Smart move! (For now) Worcester police officers in our schools

Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty announced today that Superintendent of Schools Melinda Boone, City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Chief of Police Gary Gemme and he have come to an agreement to develop and implement the school resource officer model in the Worcester Public Schools.

In addition to the four liaisons currently servicing the schools, three additional Worcester Police Department officers will enhance support and coverage to all eleven [City of Worcester] secondary schools for the upcoming school year.

“We have always been proactive about the safety of our students and that is why, working with Dr. Boone and Manager Augustus, we will be increasing the number of school resource officers,” said Mayor Petty.  “These highly trained officers will foster relationships with students and faculty, continuing to ensure an environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.”

One WPD School Resource Officer will continue to be assigned full-time to each of the city’s five comprehensive high schools – Burncoat High, Doherty High, North High, South High, and Worcester Technical High School.

Two additional full-time police officers will be assigned to the remaining two grades 7- through 12 schools and the city’s four middle schools.

“The safety and well being of WPS students has always been my number one priority every day, and this year is no exception.  These resource officers will be extremely well trained to provide collaboration and support to our school administrative teams so our students can focus on learning,” said Superintendent Melinda Boone.  “We welcome continued partnership with the Worcester Police Department to use a school-based safety model that is used by many districts throughout the country.”

The Worcester Public Schools will continue to reimburse the City of Worcester for the shared cost of four school resource officers.

The WPD will shift resources to place the additional police officers in the schools, ensuring no additional dollars are taken out of the classroom.

“The safety of our schools is paramount, and the city is happy to step up to do our part to ensure it,” said City Manager Augustus. “By providing additional officers, we will not only benefit from a day-to-day security presence in our schools, but will help the police build relationships with kids that will be beneficial in a number of ways.”

The officers will be strategically selected by Worcester Police Chief Gemme for the School Resource Officer role to ensure the right temperament, training and personality. The officers will go through specialized training as part of the school resource officer role.

“The Worcester police department enthusiastically endorses the decision to expand our community policing partnership with the Worcester Public Schools.  The school liaison officers are committed to building relationships based upon trust and respect with the school administrators, teachers, students, and parents.  We look forward to helping to provide a safe and secure environment for members of the public school community,” said Chief Gemme.