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School Security Discussed at Sunday Office Hours

Town Council members Nick Kapoor, Dee Dee Martin and Ray Knapp and Board of Finance member Ted Quinlan will be at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library until 2:30 p.m.

Democrats serving on the Town Council and Board of Finance are hosting an office hours in the Rotary Room of Edith Wheeler Memorial Library on Sunday to discuss town issues with residents. 

The event is going on until 2:30 p.m. So far, a resident who asked not to be identified, came in to discuss school security. He strongly opposes Monroe having an officer at every school.

Police Chief John Salvatore is proposing the hiring of three new officers, so there can be a school resource officer at every Monroe school. Currently Monroe has an SRO at Masuk High School and Jockey Hollow Middle School, but none dedicated to the three elementary schools.

Salvatore says the budget request is being driven by public demand in an atmosphere created by the tragic Sandy Hook School shooting in December.

Monroe also two officers patrolling Sandy Hook Elementary School on Fan Hill Road, after the town allowed Newtown to use the Chalk Hill building following the shooting at their school.

The man who came to the office hours believes the town is overreacting to the situation and envisions officers "sitting in their cars and twiddling their thumbs."

Town Councilwoman Dee Dee Martin explained how officers are patrolling a perimeter and how photographers are still trying to get onto the Sandy Hook Elementary School campus to take pictures of the children.

Martin said police are trying to create a sense of security and a safe learning environment for the students and faculty.

Since the Newtown school is now in Monroe, Town Councilman Ray Knapp said it is Monroe's jurisdiction and responsibility to provide and fund the security.

The man asked why the town doesn't hire security guards rather than certified police officers, as a money saving measure.

"You have to admit that a man standing there with a loaded weapon is more of a deterrent than a security guard," Knapp said. "A security guard is not certified."

Though the man opposes having an officer at every school, he expressed support for improving the buzz in system and identifying visitors at school entrances.

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