he’s already on the job, Patch was told, since Monday. And, Montville Schools Superintendent Pamela Aubin said, he’s already “been needed.”
Aubin said hiring the former Montville Resident State Trooper as ‘Interim Campus Safety Officer” was her decision.
“I know Mike. He was trained as a school resource officer. He was a DARE officer. He knows the town. He knows the job. He’s worked with kids,” she said, “I decided he was the right fit and hired him.”
But not before doing research, she said, including having the schools attorney confirm Collins could carry pepper spray and a Taser (yes, she said they were told, as long as the Board agrees), and conferring with other districts that employ private security, like Ledyard and East Lyme, Aubin said. In fact, it’s East Lyme’s policy that was borrowed from in part to write the policy and job description.
“I couldn’t delay school security any longer. And now, with Mike, he’s our employee, he doesn’t report to the police department; he reports to me,” she said.
Collins is being paid $25 an hour for a 40-hour week without benefits. (As a former state trooper, he’s already collecting a pension.) Aubin said she ordered an end-of-the-year analysis of salaries, encumbrances and noted that all positions had been filled including a pre-school position so “there would be enough to cover the interim position.” The board will reevaluate it in June and make a decision going forward; did it work?
Collins will work a flexible shift, Aubin said, to include after and before school events. He will be based at Montville High School but will cover the district. He will not be permitted to arrest anyone, but can detain, perform investigations and radio police in emergencies, Aubin said.
“Mike’s in great shape. He's a good fit for the job of campus safety officer,” he said. Collins is 50.
The policy, which will be officially voted o by the BOE next Tuesday, is similar to the description of an SRO sans any reference to the police department.
“Before we had no say, no control. The officer reported to the police department. We took all those references out. Now, the safety officer is an employee (of the schools).”
DARE Officer Robert Bedard, who has been covering all the schools since now former SRO Karen Moorehead was removed from the job at the beginning of January, will remain that youth officer; he was previously stationed at Leonard J. Tyl Middle School.
Aubin said the school district and board “have nothing to do with all that.”
“That was the dilemma; the officers worked for the police department. We can say nothing. Now, the Campus Security Officer is our employee.”