Bridgeport schools to employ an officer

BRIDGEPORT — The Bridgeport Exempted Village School District will employ a resource officer for the 2017-18 school year.

The district’s board of education unanimously approved the matter during Tuesday night’s regular monthly meeting.

“A lot of the schools, if they don’t employ one, they at least do it on a part-time basis, or there is a specific officer in that area or that community that is associated with that school,” Superintendent Zac Shutler said. “We, however, have not been afforded that luxury. But the Bridgeport Police Department has been great to us, as has the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department.”

Shutler said there isn’t an immediate need for an officer on campus, but it will be nice to have someone there who the students can look up to.

“We need to build relationships between the students, the district and the community with law enforcement,” he stressed. “The resource officer will be present in the morning during drop-offs to make sure the students are safe as they exit their vehicles. The officer will be there to make sure parents are parking in the proper places, and the same at dismissal time.

“The resource officer will be someone that will also work in the classrooms teaching safety education in addition to walking the hallways,” Shutler added. “They will be someone we can fluctuate their hours so they can attend basketball and football games.

“It’s not just an officer. It’s an officer that people know and have a comfort level in coming to if there is a problem.”

Shutler said the resource officer would have to come from the sheriff’s department due to the location of the school.

“We’ve talked with Sheriff (Dave) Lucas about this and told him we would be willing to pay the officer for the 9-10 months that we would need him. We don’t really need him in June and July.

“We will be getting in touch with the sheriff, and he will have to post the job. We will be part of the search, but that person would not be a Bridgeport school district employee.”

Funding for the resource officer will come from the district.

“We have no grant, but the board feels the safety of our students in hiring a resource officer is a priority.”