At the last Board of Education meeting, Police Chief David Sabagh announced that the MPD would be placing officers inside Glenfield Middle School to establish better communication with the students, parents and teachers.
Yesterday, Glenfield principal Joseph Putrino sent home a newsletter titled, “Glenfield: A True Blue Community School,” with more details of the partnership between the Montclair Community Police Unit and Glenfield. This is a part of the MPD’s new Community Service Unit initiative:
Glenfield Middle School has been known as a true community school. We offer our space and resources to all aspects of the town. Our facility has housed many community-based functions ranging from sporting events to the Montclair Adult School. We are now engaged in yet another community partnership that will indeed benefit our town and our school. Glenfield Middle School and the Montclair Police Department have joined forces!
As part of their new community policing program the Montclair Police Department is seeking to reconnect with schools. Many of you may remember the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program that used to exist in all of our schools. Due to town budget constraints the program was eliminated over 5 years ago. I still run into teachers, students and parents who valued and miss the program. D.A.R.E was not only a great system for educating students but also a way to remove the stigma of seeing a police officer and thinking, “There must be a problem!” When the MPD approached me about wanting to have a base in one of our schools, I saw a win-win situation.
Beginning this month, I have offered to give the Montclair Police Department office space at Glenfield Middle School. Our partnership is one that will pilot an idea to utilize each other as a resource. In the future other schools may also be included in this plan. Access to Glenfield is a logistical benefit for their community policing program. You may have noticed the increased presence of the police around our neighborhood.
In return we will be able to use the officers present during the day to assist with arrival and dismissal procedures and as a resource throughout the day. Our plans currently have the officers presenting to kids on important issues and helping the administration problem solve issues like drop off traffic. Once again our school community will lose the stigma that seeing a police officer means something is
The office space designated for the Montclair Police Department will be in the main office. At any given time there will be two officers present in the school and two out in the field “walking the beat.” As a perk we will have two officers on patrol up until (but not limited to) 10:00pm. This means that much of any unwanted nighttime behaviors will be deterred away from the school.
We have a transition plan that will allow all students to acclimate to the presence of our new guests. The Montclair Police Department has purchased a more relaxed uniform for the officers who will participate in the partnership. Students can expect Montclair blue polo’s with a more casual look. Additionally, as we integrate the officers to a more permanent presence, we will be circulating to each house to introduce the officers so the students are completely familiar with our guests. Also, we will be training the officers in the nuances of education and middle school students.
I want to reinforce that I am the principal of the school and make all decisions for our students throughout the school day. The police will only be involved if I have requested their service (pretty cool).
To slowly transition the school into this new partnership, The Montclair Public Schools and Glenfield have taken several steps to ensure our population has been informed. At the last Montclair Board of Education meeting Police Chief David Sabagh spoke about the program. Additionally, Glenfield PTA dedicated our last meeting on October 1st to this topic. Glenfield staff have also been included in the conversation. It is important to us to ensure that our population had a chance to hear the details of the program and ask questions.
Together, I know we can refine security procedures at Glenfield, reduce the stigma of our police force, increase awareness on important issues like drugs and alcohol and reconnect with the community on a more meaningful level.
If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me.
Dr. Joseph A. Putrino, Jr.