On Wednesday, July 5th, at the Delsea Board of Education meeting, the culmination of many years of discussion and planning came to fruition with a motion to appoint a district School Resource Officer (SRO); the motion was approved unanimously.
“This is something that we have been hoping for and working diligently toward since 2013 when discussions began with former police chief, Mike Rock,” said Dr. Gravenor, Superintendent of Schools. “At the time, the cost was prohibitive due to the regulations in place and Chief Rock was attempting to assist the district in looking for funding under the Federal Program, ‘Now Is The Time’ (NITT). When that fell through, we were back to square one.”
Recent legislation (Bill S86), signed by Governor Christie in November 2016, changed the rules by allowing retired police officers to return under a Class III designation for the sole purpose of serving as School Resource Officers. In doing so, the cost to districts fell dramatically and districts throughout the state were able to take advantage of the opportunity.
“Everything just fell into place perfectly,” said Dr. Gravenor. “Because the SRO that will be working at Delsea was previously a full-time security guard in the high school, his salary was already in the budget and we were able to roll it over to cover the cost. There is no additional impact on the taxpayers. But more importantly, the community can be assured that the district is continuing to be proactive in the area of maintaining a safe learning environment. The new SRO — who must be formally approved by the Township — will be Vince Driver, a retired Franklin Township Police Officer. In his role as a security guard, he has already established relationships with the students, knows the staff, and has a complete working knowledge of Delsea’s policies and procedures.