Last year, the Bridgeport Police Department took over responsibility for school security guards and police, which saved the district over $1 million dollars. Since then, there has been a dramatic decrease in school arrests and other incidents. In addition, the merger also brought over $3.8 million in grants, provided additional training to school security guards, and secured funds for a central security command center. [Connecticut Post, Mayor Bill Finch and Police Chief Joseph Gaudett, 1/2/2014]
Despite the program’s success, not everyone is supportive of the merger between the two departments.
Current Board of Education Chairwomen Sauda Baraka told the Connecticut Post last month that she believed there should be a separation between the departments, noting that the city and school board have different priorities. Baraka was also concerned that School Security was being used to parole parks in the summers and attend to non-school related issues.[Connecticut Post, 12/23/2013]
It’s possible that’s not the only concern on Baraka’s mind.
The issue of union grievances against the police department came up at the old board’s last meeting on November 25th, which ended in an argument over control of school security.
I guess we’ll find out what is more important: student safety or the new board’s union benefactors.
The issue is set to be discussed at Wednesday’s School Security, Health and Safety Committee Meeting. The meeting is set to take place at 7pm, after the Community Engagement Committee, in City Hall Room 305, 45 Lyon Terrance, Bridgeport.
To see the Agenda for tonight’s Committee meeting: [Bridgeport Board of Education, 12/26/2013]
Here is Police Chief Joseph Gaudett’s Letter to the board: [Letter from Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett, 12/23/2013]