Following today’s meeting of the Health, Safety, & Facilities Subcommittee, I emailed Mayor Martin with a few questions about the SRO proposal, and have a a few other conversations on that topic.
The School Resource Officer program currently consists of one plain-clothes officer. This officer reports up through the Greenfield Police Department, and the salary is divided between the GPD and the Greenfield Public Schools. The program is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding that has been in effect since January of 2017.
The proposal being put forward by the Mayor and the Chief of Police would expand the SRO program with two additional uniformed officers who “would carry all equipment that any other uniformed officer would have.” It would also involve two unmarked vehicles and would cost $215,000 in the first year. This money would not be part of the Greenfield Public Schools budget. Where exactly it would be coming from is not clear, although it is in the FY2019 budget that the Mayor will be bringing to the City Council in the next month or two.
I have had some back-and-forth with the Mayor, who implies (but has not outright stated) that the current Memorandum of Understanding referenced above “covers” the expansion. I asked him for clarification on this point—specifically, whether he is asserting that the expansion of the SRO program is a purely budgetary exercise and does not require approval from the School Committee—but I have not gotten a clear answer on this question.
The Mayor and Chief Haigh will be formally presenting their proposal to the full School Committee at their next regular meeting on Wednesday, April 11. I would expect to hear quite a few questions from the Committee about the proposal, what is driving it, and how the SRO program as it currently exists does or does not meet the terms of the MOU.
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