Fairfield police officer working at Sacred Heart school for added security

The city of Fairfield and Sacred Heart of Jesus School have partnered to split the cost of a school resource officer at the Catholic elementary school “to address security concerns.”

Sacred Heart had requested the city assign an SRO at the school and reimburse the police department 50% of the officer’s yearly pay and benefits. When not at the school, the officer would be performing policing duties for the city. The SRO started at the beginning of the school year.

The Fairfield Police Department staffs an SRO at all of the Fairfield City Schools within the city limits (there are two district schools within Fairfield Twp.). The primary roles of an SRO inside a school building include law enforcement, fostering a positive climate within the school, and education.

Police Chief Steve Maynard said school administrators at every building with a resource officer are encouraged to leverage that person. It’s encouraged that they participate “by becoming a member of the educational team when appropriate” and build positive relationships with students, their families, and the school staff. It’s also important, Maynard said, to build a culture of communication at the school.

“Whether talking to students in the hallway or delivering a presentation in a classroom, SROs are embedded in the educational fabric of the schools. They are expected to be proactive in creating and taking advantage of educational situations,” the chief said.

And while the officers are responsible for law enforcement activities at the school during school hours, SROs do not take part in the general discipline of students.

“The determination of whether or not activity requires law enforcement intervention will be made in consultation with a school administrator,” according to the MOU. “Parents, students, teachers, and other school personnel should bring complaints about student misbehavior to the school principal and/or designee instead of an SRO.”

School officials were unavailable for comment Wednesday.

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