A clamoring of public demand for heightened security at Monroe's schools could be heard around town after a shooter opened fire on children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people on Dec. 14. Monroe welcomed the Newtown school into its Chalk Hill building on Fan Hill Road and town police officers have been providing security ever since.
Chief John Salvatore has also provided a police presence at all of Monroe's schools.
Masuk High School and Jockey Hollow Middle School currently have a school resource officer and the chief wants to add an SRO to each of the town's three elementary schools.
Police are asking for three new officers in their 2013-14 budget and two new dispatchers to handle an increased volume of calls and for extra sets of eyes on the security cameras at town schools.
Salvatore said the proposed changes will not guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen, but added, "We believe it's the best for this community."
The Town Council had taken out the dispatchers, but on Wednesday night the Board of Finance agreed to put $39,275 back in for one of them.
Salvatore had explained that professional standards require 90% of 911 calls to be answered within 10 seconds, adding Monroe dispatchers often cannot do it when one is on duty and there are multiple calls. The chief wants to have two dispatchers on duty together during peak periods of the day.
First Selectman Steve Vavrek and Salvatore told the Board of Finance about the possibility of securing federal grant funding to pay for the SROs, so the board decided to create a $150,893 contingency account to be used for the officers' salaries should the town not receive a grant.
The contingency line will be carried by the town finance department.