April 26, 2018 — A plan to increase security in Weston's schools, jointly recommended by Superintendent William McKersie and Police Chief Edwin Henion, was approved by the Board of Education at its regular meeting on April 23.
The proposal calls for maintaining Weston High School's current School Resource Officer (SRO) and adding a second who would focus primarily on Weston Middle School. In addition, a currently part-time campus officer who concentrates on the Weston Intermediate School and Hurlbutt Elementary would become full-time. There would also be six security specialists to manage visitors and monitor entrances at the schools.
Speaking at the meeting, Chief Henion and Captain Matthew Brodacki told the Board that the roles of the police officers would "flex," meaning the officers would be covering all four schools. Dr. McKersie added that, in addition, both Chief Henion and Captain Brodacki have a visible presence at the schools and that officers from other towns working in the regional cyber crime lab, which is located on school property, are available as well.
Dr. McKersie stated that Weston is unique in having a "mile of safety," with all schools located on a one-mile road with the police department next door. The superintendent also described how Weston stands out in providing school security while "other districts are standing pat."
Chief Henion said "the key is to intervene before an event," and that SROs play a key role. "This is a prevention program, and it is proven to work," he said.
The Board was enthusiastic about the plan. Member Ellen Uzenoff lauded the "extraordinary cooperation" between the schools and police. This was echoed by member Dan McNeill, who thanked Dr. McKersie and Chief Henion for "a significant increase in security for our schools."
With the recommendation's approval by the Board of Education, it will be reviewed by the Police Commission. At some point, funding will have to be considered by the Board of Selectmen and, ultimately, the Board of Finance.