LISBON — In the wake of a shooting at a Texas elementary school last month, which has brought renewed focus to school safety, the Town Council agreed Tuesday to repurpose funds from the municipal budget and hire a second school resource officer for Lisbon schools this year.

Lisbon currently has one officer covering four schools on three campuses. Several years ago, the town had two resource officers covering three schools.

Police Chief and interim Town Manager Ryan McGee suggested that the town could take $70,000 budgeted for security cameras and other security updates for the Town Office and Police Department, and instead hire a second school resource officer.

Depending on benefits and years of service, the new position would cost the town roughly $80,000, resulting in a $10,000 increase to the town budget, McGee said.

“On a $10 million budget, this is an increase of, in layman’s terms, like a cup of coffee per taxpayer a month, is what it really boils down to,” he said.

McGee said he would work with the new assistant town manager, Glenn Michalowski, to apply for grants to cover the $70,000 cut from the technology budget.


None of the seven councilors voiced opposition to the move. No vote was taken on the matter Tuesday, but officials said the change will likely be made during the budget review next week.

“I’ve often said that even in our small town, you could put a school resource officer in the high school, middle school and elementary school and they would be busy all day,” School Resource Officer Renee Bernard told the council. “When you’re there, it’s not just students, but staff are popping in (your office).”

McGee and Bernard also stressed the importance of developing relationships between law enforcement officers and students in schools.

“There is numerous times throughout our career where we got to a very bad situation with little children there, and the first thing they say, because they’ve built relationships is, ‘Hey, do you know Officer Bernard? Do you know Officer Pickard?'”

Jeff Pickard is currently an officer in the Lisbon Police Department and a former school resource officer.

Last month, the Town Council approved a request from McGee to apply for a federal grant program which would cover 75% of a new school resource officer’s pay for three years. If the department receives the grant, the soonest the officer could start would be the fall of 2023.

“I do not believe we should wait a year to get this officer back in the schools,” he said.

McGee said he will still apply for the federal grant, which could put a third officer in Lisbon schools.

Comments are no longer available on this story