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Madawaska appoints school resource officer to improve student safety

Following another school shooting in Florida in February, officials with the Madawaska police and school departments, worked together to create a new position of school resource officer.

“This new collaboration is a win-win situation,” said Superintendent Gisele Dionne. “We get to have more security and a police officer is present amongst our students.”

After conferring amongst themselves and with school administrators, Police Chief Ross Dubois, Town Manager Gary Picard and the Madawaska Board of Selectmen decided to reallocate some of the town’s police resources to allow Lt. Jamie Pelletier to assume duties as a criminal investigator/school resource officer.

In a press release announcing the news, school and town officials stated that a school resource officer would daily be presented with opportunities “to help a child out of a bad situation or to help a child turn [his or her life] around and to work with their families and school community to provide support.”

By reassigning duties within the police department, officials said they would be able to increase student safety and school security at not additional cost to taxpayers.

Pelletier said he is very excited to be a part of the community’s first school resource officer program.

“My goal is to ensure safe learning environments in our schools and fostering positive relationships with youth,” he said.

The National Association of School Resource Officers considers it a best practice to use a “triad concept” to define the three main roles of school resource officers: educator, informal counselor/mentor, and law enforcement officer.

“It has become a reality with the recent and former school shootings that we need to be proactive for the safety of our children,” said Chief Dubois. “We’ve heard many people state they never thought these tragedies could happen in their communities.”

Dionne said she the school department was “very grateful to have a school resource office in our buildings and we would like to thank the Town of Madawaska for making this possible.”

Wayne Anderson, principal of Madawaska Middle/High School, said, “This will create a healthy and much safer environment for our students and staff. This is definitely a positive addition to our schools. I am happy to welcome Lt. Jamie Pelletier to our schools.”

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