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Police May Roam Halls of Darien High

It's possible that police officers could be stationed in the halls of Darien High School, as Darien Police Chief Duane Lovello spoke to the Board of Education on Tuesday night about adding a school resource officer. The SRO would be available to handle safety concerns, as well as talk to kids about law enforcement and build relationships.

"The school resource officer would be someone who would actively participate in the school environment, help kids arrive at better decisions on their own, and be a resource to them," Lovello said. He said that, if the school board decided to adopt an SRO program, a Darien police officer would be selected to devote his or her full time to working within the high school with the students, faculty and parents.

"We would introduce that officer into the school environment and make sure his or her personality is a good fit," Lovello said. "There would be a vetting process consisting of input from the police department, the Board of Education and the high school administration."

Matt Byrnes, assistant superintendent for secondary schools, said the SRO would be of great benefit to the students. "When they are in the presence of a law enforcement official for part of their everyday lives, they develop a much different perspective of those people, what jobs they have and why we have them, than they would if their only interaction was motor vehicle incidents and parties, which are not as pleasant."

Principal Dan Haron said nearly all of the other high schools in Fairfield County have SROs in their halls. "Many schools that are very similar to Darien have had very positive experiences with SROs."

Lovello said the SRO would be paid for out of the police department's budget, and he or she would be uniformed and armed. He also said that, if a situation arose that called for arrests, other police officers would be brought in so as not to damage the relationships that students had built with the SRO. Superintendent Stephen Falcone said the Board of Education would speak with students and parents before formally proposing the idea.

What do you think about having a police officer working full time in the high school? Do you think it would be a positive thing? What thoughts and concerns do you have? Voice your opinions in the comments below or on The Daily Darien's Facebook page.

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