North Judson-San Pierre could have a school resource officer sometime next school year. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin told the school board last week that they’re still in the exploratory phase, but discussions with Town Marshal Kelly Fisher are moving along quickly.
“The town is in support of this and the police department is in support of this, and she also is aware of some grants that are now available,” Zupin said. “So right now, we are in discussion, investigating, and planning with the town. I don’t have much more than that at this point, but we are moving quickly on this, to see if we can get somebody, either at the beginning of the year or halfway through the year.”
Zupin said the idea is that the officer would be shared between the elementary and junior/senior high schools. But before any official plans are finalized, she said she wants to make sure the officer would fit in with the the proactive safety initiatives N.J.-S.P. has already put in place, like the new secure entrances and the school-based social worker. “Most people think it’s to keep armed people out, but there’s so many other things to do,” Zupin explained. “And it’s to help build relationships so that they have somebody to go to. It may be to go do home visits to talk about attendance and deliver attendance letters, truancy issues, because all of those issues build up to the student who is troubled and may do something.”
Board Member Derrick Stalbaum said that at the school corporation where he works, the school resource officer has a positive impact on the school’s day-to-day operations. He noted that the officer is an advocate for students in many ways, but also adds a sense of seriousness to fights and vaping incidents.
Going forward, Zupin said there are still some logistical issues to be worked out, including how the new position would be financed and where specifically the officer would be placed.