Lehigh Valley

Forks Township supervisors discuss hiring resource officer for local tech school

FORKS TWP., Pa. - A tech school in Northampton County may be getting its own resource officer soon.

During its Thursday night meeting, Forks Township supervisors discussed hiring a resource officer for the Career Institute of Technology.

The director of CIT sent a draft of a contract to the supervisors asking for consideration of a full-time officer on campus.

Police Chief Greg Dorney proposed the implementation of a position for a resource officer for the CIT campus. Supervisors agreed to allow further discussions between Dorney and CIT to work on a contract.

"(CIT is) seeking to partner with our department to implement a full-time resource officer position within (its) building," Dorney said.

According to Supervisor Erik Chuss, the cost of a resource officer would be $38,000, which may change with the revision of the contract. Chuss said CIT has offered to pay for training and an office space as well as half of the officer's salary. Wages, health care and pension costs could see a 5% increase.

Dorney said there's a need for security at public schools with school shootings happening nationwide.

"We all know our culture and unfortunately what's been going on throughout the country with school shootings," Dorney said. "(CIT is) looking at a number of security upgrades up there."

Chuss asked Dorney if Easton Area School District would consider sending one of its officers to CIT since some Easton students are dual-enrolled.

The school district has its own police department with all campuses having an armed officer. Dorney said it was more feasible for EASD to start its own police department due to the size of the district and how many buildings they have.

"We can offer them a lot more as our municipal department than what Easton can from their school police department," Dorney said. "They have their hands full with what they're undertaking with the amount of buildings and kids."

Students at Easton Area Middle School were dismissed early Monday after a student released a can of pepper spray in the cafeteria.  Forks responders were on the scene including hazmat crews. Several students were taken to St. Luke's hospital for further evaluation.

Dorney said they would be removing a veteran officer from the roads for 9 months to send them to CIT. He said they would need to hire a new officer to put back on the roads.

It is not clear what CIT's total budget is at the moment.

Additionally, Tim Hughes was appointed as a new supervisor. Hughes' appointment comes after the resignation of Ed Moore, who moved out of the township.

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