WEST NEWBURY — Manny Terrero of the Police Department – or “Officer Manny” as he is often called – has a new title to go with his cheerful moniker, Pentucket Regional School District school resource officer.
“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while since I went into policing, so I’m glad it worked out,” Terrero said.
The school resource officer is designed to promote and strengthen relationships with students, parents, teachers and staff.
The programs Terrero will oversee relate to school safety protocols, anti-bullying, traffic monitoring at the start and end of the school day, and public safety classes for students interested in careers in police, fire or emergency medical services. The school resource officer also works with guidance counselors to help at-risk students.
“I’m really excited about this – it’s definitely within his wheelhouse,” Police Chief Michael Dwyer said Monday.
Dwyer, who served as the last resource officer prior to being made chief, invited Pentucket’s high school and middle school principals, assistant principals, and the regional district’s superintendent and assistant superintendent to participate in the interview process to fill the post.
Terrero was one of two in-house candidates who applied. Dwyer said Pentucket’s administrative and safety teams already know the new officer. He not only established a solid relationship with the schools, but also helped with the summer recreation program.
Terrero recently completed the police academy, “passing with flying colors” according to Dwyer, and plans to attend the school resource officer academy and other police training in April.
He will work primarily Monday through Friday at the middle/high school – with some visits to Page Elementary School anticipated.
At a meeting this week, the Select Board agreed to extend the current school resource officer agreement, which runs for a year with an option for two additional years, and includes a salary adjustment for cost-of-living increases.
Terrero earns $31,519 annually, and will receive a 3% increase in fiscal 2024 based on the police union contract.
There is no supplemental pay for the school resource officer but rather the officer is paid his wage as a patrol officer per the union contract, which varies based on tenure, educational incentives and other factors, noted Town Manager Angus Jennings.
“The district pays the town a fixed amount annually to offset a portion of our costs to have an SRO,” Jennings said.
Since a majority of the secondary school campus is in West Newbury, local police would be the first to respond to an incident at the school whether there was a school resource officer or not, so the agreement with the district helps to offset that cost, said Select Board Chair David Archibald.
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