There will not be a school resource officer (SRO) at Central Bucks West High School in the coming school year.
The Central Bucks Regional Police Commission recently rejected the Central Bucks School District’s request for such a law enforcement officer. In a June 30 letter to the district, Brian Wallace, the commission’s chairman, said, “Due to current constraints on the staff and administration of CBRPD, we are unable to place a CBRPD officer at CB West for the next school year.”
The commission, composed of elected officials from Doylestown, Chalfont and New Britain boroughs, detailed other reasons for its decision, while stressing it “strongly supports the School District in its efforts to keep our schools safe.”
Of equal concern, the commission said, was to what degree the school board will continue to support the SRO program.
“The matter has not been addressed at its public meetings and no commitment by the school board, as a body, has been publicly given,” the commission wrote to Kevin Spencer, the director of operations for CBSD.
Absent “public comment or discussions,” the commission said it can’t measure parents’ or community support for the SRO at CB West. The police commission also noted the lack of an operational plan to be used to assess the program.
The board had proposed covering all costs associated with the SRO for five years, adding that, if the district would end the program, neither the commission, nor any participating municipality would be responsible for the funding the position.
At the commission’s July 27 meeting, Central Bucks School Board President Dana Hunter read a letter from Spencer, saying the decision was “severely disappointing.”
The commission’s decision, “raises many questions,” added Hunter, including whether the decision was taken at a public meeting and whether the elected public officials that comprise the commission were made aware of the district’s “unprecedented proposal” to fully fund the SRO at CB West.
An SRO at CB West, said Hunter, would “send a resounding message to our community regarding an outcome I am certain we share: the provision of a safe and secure environment for our students and staff.”
A school resource officer was assigned to CB South High School in 2022, in partnership with the school district. An SRO was first placed in the Warrington school in 2005, but was withdrawn four years later, due to funding cuts. An officer was again assigned from 2014 to 2018.
The Central Bucks Regional Police Department will continue to respond and cooperate with the district to “maintain safety, as it has always done,” the letter stated.