Chatham Selectmen Approve Funding for School Resource Officer

CHATHAM – Selectmen in Chatham unanimously voted last month to add a full-time school resource officer to the police department’s budget.

The decision to include the $81,000 position came after Police Chief Mark Pawlina stressed the importance of improving school safety with a resource officer and installing bullet-proof doors and locks in classrooms.

Pawlina said the issue needed to be discussed because school shooting incidents like the recent event in Parkland, Florida are the new normal.

“It could happen anwhere,” Pawlina said.

“Maybe emotionally we don’t think it could happen here but I think we are all intelligent enough to know that this could happen anywhere because it is happening anywhere,” he said.

The board also voted to send a letter to Monomoy Regional School Committee members recommending safety measures at facilities including bullet-proof doors and locks and live surveillance video.

Pawlina said these additions in the schools would greatly improve the chance of survival in shooting incidents.

“Seconds count. Literally seconds count,” he said. “What happened 24 hours ago and six days ago and six weeks ago doesn’t matter anymore. It’s I have six seconds to get somewhere safe. That’s what it amounts to.”

Pawlina said classroom fortification buys time, which saves lives.

He said the school district needs to continue the work being done by its crisis team which look for red flags and help children with difficulties at home or have mental health issues.

“That I see is a prevent piece,” Pawlina said.

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