- Published: Sunday, 09 February 2014 21:59
- Written by Mike Flaherty
With the recent announcement that the police department will be reassigning the School Resource Officer (SRO), Karl Baptiste out of the schools to perform regular patrols townwide, I was reminded of a related discussion last year regarding the position. Folks may or may not be aware that this position was on the chopping block last year too but was spared.
What follows below are two video excerpts from last year's all-day Finance Committee meeting. Combined they are about 5 minutes. The first provides some context and is of Town Administrator, Derek Sullivan, saying what even I can no longer deny myself - that "We're not a small little village town" that I thought I moved to and that "We've got city issues". In fact according to the TA, Wareham ranks in the top 14 cities and towns for violent youth crime. For comparison, according to former Chief of Police, Richard Stanley, some of those other cities that we compete for "violent youth crime" grants include Lawrence, Lynne, Worcester, Fall River, Chelsea, Brockton, and more.
In the second excerpt, Stanley went into the history of the SRO role and how, frankly, to cover a town like Wareham we should really have 3 of them. Nevermind lose the excellent one he has.
Please note the date on the video. I uploaded it back in July 2013. I did so because I found this testimony from our top Town officials so candid and eye opening. However, I kept the video setting on "private" so that no one could actually see it until I set it to "public". Why? Because I went back and forth on whether or not any good could come from posting it and bringing attention to it. I don't have to tell you that as residents we are constantly bombarded with the negative news despite all the good that is going on too. The last thing I wanted to do is pile on more.
However, I think it is important to demonstrate that the Town Administrator and the Police Department are absolutely mindful of what a tremendous asset Officer Baptiste has been to our schools. If there was any way they could keeep him there, they would.
I wish I had more to say, but the numbers are real. This was not done as a "scare tactic" or a "dog-and-pony show". There are no more rabbits to pull out of the hat (a la snow plowing). For those who followed the budget process last year, you will recall the refrain from the Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen was "If you think this year is bad, wait till next year, it will be much worse".
Well, it's not even next year yet...
If the video directly above is not accessible, the direct link may be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCZ9fC5-pnQ
If the video directly above is not accessible, the direct link may be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lvoRcdfSkw
Publisher's Note: The thoughts expressed in this article are my personal views. I am speaking for myself and not any private or public organization that I may be associated with.