School resource officer expands role at Watervliet Elementary School
Oct. 5, 2011
Don't be alarmed to see a police car parked
outside Watervliet Elementary School on a regular basis. Beginning this
year, the marked car will become a more familiar sight as the district’s
school resource officer expands his duties at the elementary level.
Watervliet Police Sgt. Mark Spain is beginning his fifth year as the district’s school resource officer. While he has worked with the elementary school as needed in the past, this year Spain is increasing his presence in the building on a permanent basis. By doing so, Spain hopes to establish relationships with both students and parents early on and be another resource for the elementary community.
“Our goal is to have him be a regular part of the community as a teacher, role model and a leader,” WES Principal Theresa O’Brien said. The sergeant will primarily focus on grades five and six but the entire building can expect to benefit from the police presence.
The school resource officer's duties include promoting a safe learning environment, providing information on the law and safety, forming positive relationships with students and staff and educating students on their rights and responsibilities.
In addition to his office at the junior-senior high school, Spain now also has office space at the elementary school. Students can expect to see him at lunches and activities such as the school’s existing character education program. Parents can expect to see Spain at concerts and other extracurricular activities.
Spain says his presence at the school district helps people become comfortable with police officers as resources of assistance and advice.
“They know they can come to me with problems inside and outside of school,” Spain said. The fact that students and parents feel comfortable approaching him outside of school is important as Spain in addition to his school duties still patrols the street three days a week.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul J. Padalino points out that many districts have been forced to cut their school resource officer programs.
“We’re very lucky to have been able to keep our school resource officer and now to expand his role. This is a valuable partnership between the school district and the city” Padalino said.
In the past Spain has provided integral assistance on several WES projects such as helping with the design of the visitor entry and the school emergency plan.
“I know everyone is looking forward to his presence in the building,” Principal O’Brien said.
In addition to contacting him at the school and police department, parents and students can also contact Sgt. Spain on his Facebook page.