School resource officer program recognized as one of top in U.S.
At a press conference Oct. 22 at Salisbury High School, the Salisbury Police Department/Salisbury School District school resource officer program was recognized as one of only nine model agency programs across the nation.
At the event, Pennsylvania State Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-18th, presented a recognition plaque from the National Association of School Resource Officers to Salisbury Township Police Chief Allen Stiles.
The event was held at the beginning of National Safe Schools Week – Oct. 21-27.
Boscola said “everyone needs to be involved for school safety to work.” She commended School Resource Officer Richard Nothstein for being a mentor and guest classroom lecturer, as well as a law enforcement officer.
SHS senior Sara Lamana spoke as the founder and chair of the school’s student-led safety committee, which was formed earlier in the school year. She said the committee serves to supplement Nothstein’s efforts, providing “an additional forum where students can feel comfortable raising safety concerns.”
State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, R-134th, and state Rep. Justin Simmons, 131st, also commended the police department and the Salisbury Township School District administration and school board “for putting our children’s safety before anything else.”
Stiles said his department’s association with the school district began in 1996 “out of tragic necessity.”
During that year, two SHS students murdered their parents and their 11-year-old brother. “Our department provided officers at each of our schools until the perpetrators were apprehended. From those trying times, we decided that we must find a way to work together from that time onward. That was the genesis of our school resource officer program and we are proud to see this department held up nationally as a model program.”
Salisbury Township School District Superintendent Dr. Randy Ziegenfuss hosted the press conference and school board member Susan Lea, speaking also as a parent, said it was comforting to see a uniformed officer participating in everyday activities in the district’s schools.
Salisbury Township Commissioner Debra Brinton announced a second school resource officer would be working in district schools beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. She said current K-9 Officer Jason Laky would be undergoing training as a school resource officer during the coming months.