As students were preparing for classes on Monday, students will notice the absence of a school resource officer in some Meriden schools.
The city eliminated the position this year for the eight elementary schools in Meriden. The city cited a staffing shortage in the police department and the rising cost of overtime to replace them as the reasons for the elimination of the position.
Mayor Kevin Scarpati told Eyewitness News he's already working on a potential fix.
"I think they should get them back because it would keep the school safer,” Deion Lespire said. “They need to be safe with everything happening nowadays."
While its Lespire’s son’s first day of kindergarten this year, the police department eliminated the elementary school resource officer.
“We've had a shortage of staff in the police department as well,” Scarpati said. “And some of the things to go unfortunately do to the budget restraints are these proactive measures."
It’s why Scarpati announced on Monday that he'll bring forward a resolution and most importantly the money, so the city council can vote on filling the school resource officer position, next week.
"For a $60,000 expenditure to reinstate this position because of the importance we feel it is for our kids, the schools, and the families,” Scarpati said.
Meriden's Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Benigni said student safety is their top priority. Benigni added the district has worked with the police department in the past on securing the schools, but he adds, it’s much more than that.
"The SRO alerts us to neighborhood issues, concerns, also helps us with parking or traffic issues,” Benigni said. “And most importantly the elementary SRO builds relationships with our students and families and that's really what it's all about."
A position parents’ hope will be filled, sooner rather than later.
"That would make me feel good if they bring them back,” Lespire said. “My little son, love to keep him safe."
In the meantime, the idea is for the neighborhood, community outreach officers and the patrol officers to fill in as needed.
Scarpati said he'll submit a resolution with the hope the council will adopt the proposal, and re-instate the position at its next meeting, next Tuesday.
Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.