Montville school board approves policies to arm school security officers
Montville ― The school district took the next step towards having armed security officers in the town’s schools by approving two policies Tuesday night.
At a meeting Tuesday night, the Board of Education approved a policy outlining the School Resource Officer (SRO) position and a related Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Montville Police Department, and approved a policy outlining the job description of School Safety Officers (SSO).
The move comes more than two months after the board approved the idea of employing armed security in the town’s six schools.
“It means that we are looking to hire a few school security officers that are going to be armed,” board Chairman Wills Pike, said of the approvals on Wednesday.
Currently, the district employs four, unarmed SSOs and is looking for a fifth.
With approval of the policies the five SSOs, who will now be armed, will work alongside three armed SROs, who will be officers from the Montville Police Department.
Superintendent Laurie Pallin said security will not be armed until background checks and all the required training have been completed, as outlined by the policy. The district also needs to obtain weapons and other related equipment.
Though he called it an optimistic goal, Pike said the district would like to have armed security in schools within the next two months.
“We next need to communicate the roles of the SRO and SSO to our staff, students, and families to ensure their day-to-day work in our schools complies with policy and to maximize the value of these employees,” Pallin said on Wednesday.
Pallin said in a prior interview that the district plans to have an armed security guard in each of the three elementary schools, one in the alternative high school, and two each in middle school and the high school.
Pallin and her staff worked closely with Lt. Dave Radford of the Montville Police to create the memorandum of understanding with the police department. It is has now been sent to the police union for its review and approval.
The district relies on the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) for writing its policies. The district’s legal counsel, Shipman and Goodwin, reviewed and revised the drafted policies before the board approved them.
“This has been a carefully thought out process, developing the MOU and the policy,” Pike said. “They have been thoroughly reviewed by the staff and Montville PD. We’re going to implement these and improve school safety moving forward.”