RUMFORD — The Regional School Unit 10 board of directors voted 9-1 Monday to approve a federal grant for a second student resource officer for Rumford and Mexico schools.

Mexico Police Chief Roy Hodsdon told directors meeting at Mountain Valley High School that his department has received a four-year $101,492 grant from the Community Oriented Policing Services program to cover most of the cost. The four-year federal grant requires a 25% share from the district the first three years; a total of $33,831. For the fourth year the district is expected to pay the entire cost of $46,813.

Hodsdon said school resource officer Doug Maifeld covers Mountain Valley High School and Rumford Elementary School, both in Rumford, and Mountain Valley Middle School and Meroby Elementary School, both in Mexico, and is “running from place to place to place.”

The number of calls is higher at the elementary schools than the middle and high schools and has “become worrisome,” the chief said. Runaway juveniles to out-of-control juveniles tearing apart a school classroom, “that was unheard of years ago,” he said. “We’d never seen that. Now we’re dealing with that.”

The COPS grant from the Rumford Police Department to pay for Maifeld’s services is in its third year. The district and Rumford will pay the entire cost for the 2023-24 school year.

The district also employs retired Maine State Police Sgt. Percy Turner for Buckfield Junior-Senior High School in Buckfield and Hartford-Sumner Elementary School in Sumner. His services are provided by the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office and paid by the district, Superintendent Deb Alden said.

Directors voting in favor of hiring another officer were Jerry Wiley of Buckfield, Gail Parent of Hanover, Bonnie Child, Peter DeFilipp and Janet Brennick, all of Mexico, and Abbey Rice, Dan Hodge, Jeff Sterling and Greg Buccina, all of Rumford.

Director Allison Long of Buckfield voted against the measure, saying she and teachers, students, staff members and other community members she asked thought money should be used to hire more social workers and other mental health professionals.

Directors Justeen LaPointe of Roxbury, Chad Culleton of Hartford and Joel Chapman of Sumner were absent.

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