School board, police department eye resource officer for City Hill

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education and the Naugatuck Police Department want a school resource officer for City Hill Middle School.

“In short, the significant changes during middle school sometimes result in students making poor behavioral choices in school, at home and through social media. Because of this, the students at City Hill would benefit greatly from a school resource officer,” Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christopher Montini wrote in a letter to the Naugatuck Police Department requesting a school resource officer for the middle school.

Naugatuck High School has had a school resource officer for about 10 years. The school resource officer assigned to Naugatuck High is an officer with the police department who works at the school during the school year.

There are two full-time security guards at City Hill, but the school has never had a school resource officer.

In the letter, Montini states a resource officer at the school would help build positive relationships between law enforcement officers and youth, maintain a safe environment for students and staff, and proactively prevent and reduce offenses requiring student referrals to court.

The school board supported the letter and hiring a school resource officer for City Hill at its Jan. 10 meeting, but it’s the police department that must request the position in its budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.

In an interview the morning after the meeting, Police Chief Christopher Edson said the department will move forward with requesting an additional police officer position to assign as the school resource officer. The position’s base salary would be $62,000 plus benefits, such as health insurance, he said.

The police department will present its budget request to the Board of Finance on Jan. 28.

“I expect it will be an uphill battle,” Edson said. “We will have to provide justification for the need. Hopefully people will see it our way.”

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess told school officials that they should be prepared to make a presentation to the Board of Finance as to why the school needs a resource officer and what the position can provide beyond security guards.

“Just think about it and prepare something that will move it more quickly,” Hess said.