By Bob Katzen

The Education Committee held a hearing on a proposal that would allow cities and towns to hire retired state and local police officers to be full-time safety resource officers at local schools. Under current law, there is a 960-hour limit on the number of hours these officers can work in municipal or state government. That translates into approximately 120 eight-hour days.

Massachusetts school resource officers are certified only if they complete a 40-hour course that provides instruction in ethics, social media, diversity, informal counseling and mentoring, understanding teen development, understanding special needs students, youth trends, drugs, crime prevention, school safety and threat response.

“As a legislator and father, I know the protection of our children has to be our number one priority,” said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Jim Arciero (D-Westford). “The safety of our children has become a major focus of concern given several recent school tragedies around the nation. This legislation seeks to further enhance the safety of our schools and ensure a secure learning environment for our students.”

Arciero filed the bill following his recent meetings with Westford Chief Thomas McEnaney and Westford Public Schools Superintendent Everett Olsen.

“This legislation will allow local school districts to access a highly-trained pool of applicants for these important public safety positions,” said McEnaney. They generally will have decades of experience and, in most cases, be very knowledgeable about the communities and schools they will be working in.”

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