ERIE, Pa. — Both the Millcreek Township Board of Supervisors and the Millcreek Township School Board have formally agreed to have an officer serve at McDowell High School, but the police department has already provided an officer at times on a temporary basis.
Board of Supervisors chairman John Morgan said, “We have had a resource officer at the high school–at the school district’s request–off and on.”
After the board’s Tuesday night meeting, there is now a formal agreement for an officer to serve as a full-time resource officer with specialized training.
“Millcreek Township and the school district have taken a proactive approach,” said Supervisor James Bock.
Millcreek Township Police Officer Nate Spiker recently began the assignment after McDowell students returned from the December holiday break.
Apart from ensuring safety, what are the duties of a school resource officer (SRO)?
Morgan said, “It really is about building rapport with the students. Just making sure that we have a presence there to work with student to get to know these kids, and hopefully to address other issues that we see in these high schools.”
Bock added, “(Spiker) is going to be educating students on various subjects: drug awareness, crimes code, vehicle code. Just any courses that he feels are appropriate to the students there.”
Bill Hall, superintendent of Millcreek Township School District, shared similar expectations after the school board voted in favor of the agreement on Monday.
“They’re there for kids to come to talk to if there is an issue in the building. And then, they also know the building inside and out,” he said.
Millcreek Township solicitor Mark Shaw said the school district will reimburse the township 75 percent of the annual costs of services. Shaw said the agreement could be duplicated.
“We certainly have the framework already in place and that shouldn’t be that difficult to transform that framework to a different school.”
The Millcreek Township Police Department will hire three officers, which will fill the previous position of Spiker and two retiring officers.