Officer DeLouis adds New Milford High to his duties
Published 5:29 pm, Wednesday, January 5, 2011
A face familiar to many students is on the scene these days at New Milford High School.
As of Monday, New Milford police officer Pete DeLouis is on duty as the school resource officer.
Officer DeLouis will be at NMHS three days and at Schaghticoke Middle School two days during the week.
"This is a reassignment for me," Officer DeLouis said. "I was SRO at Schaghticoke for seven years. The position was cut at the end of last school year. I'm glad to be back."
With 22 years in the New Milford police department, Officer DeLouis knows the town well and is a familiar face for the students at the high school, many of whom should remember him from Schaghticoke.
The previous SRO at NMHS, Officer Don Woods, retired from the police force in June.
Mayor Patricia Murphy said she is "delighted" to have the position returned. It had been eliminated for the beginning of the school year due to funding constraints in the police department.
"The position was funded in this year's budget, but it was a matter of finding the right person," the mayor said. "The chief was deciding who the right person was.
"I am delighted," she added. "You should have an SRO in the schools these days to keep an ear to the ground and to give kids someone to talk to about concerns."
Officer DeLouis agrees.
The SRO position gives kids "another avenue" for addressing concerns, he said. It also lets students see a police officer as a friend, not just someone called around when there is a problem, he added.
Police Chief Shawn Boyne said Officer DeLouis was the obvious choice for the position.
"He's certified as a school resource officer, was well received at Schaghticoke. It's an easy transition and the best for everyone," Chief Boyne said, "especially for the students who will remember him."
Superintendent of Schools JeanAnn Paddyfote said Monday, "Having the SRO back in the schools is very beneficial to the district.
"We appreciate the cooperation we have received from the new chief and from the residents of the town."
Paddyfote added the police chief made it "very clear to me that if Officer DeLouis needs to be pulled from the schools for other duty, that will happen. And we understand."
Boyne explained Tuesday, when schools are closed for snow days or vacation days, Officer DeLouis will be reassigned to other community duty.
He may also be called in to another school if the need were to occur.
"It's our intent to keep him at the schools as long as we can," Chief Boyne added.
For New Milford High senior Adam Heege, having Officer DeLouis in the school is "pretty cool."
"I remember him from my seventh- and eighth-grade years at Schaghticoke," Adam said. "He was a nice guy to have around."
Sophomore Courtney Hengel said Monday a family friend who is in training to be a police officer in New Milford spoke highly of Officer DeLouis.
For that reason and from seeing him interact with other students Monday, she thought "he seems like a nice guy."
"I think it's pretty cool having an SRO at the school because of all the situations you hear about in the news that happen in high schools today," Courtney said.