Chenoga asks Public Safety, council members to consider resource officer for schools

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney Borough Council’s Public Safety meeting opened Tuesday with comments from council President Larry Chenoga in support of a resource officer for Punxsutawney Area High School.

“I’m asking that a member of Public Safety and the rest of council seriously consider the suggestion that was made at a recent school board meeting for the Punxsutawney Area School District to hire a police officer to help protect students, faculty and staff at the school,” Chenoga said.

All council members should give the idea of a resource officer serious thought before Monday’s council meeting, he said.

“It’s likely that we’ll have some residents of the borough here with petitions asking for council to approve having an officer assigned to the high school,” he said. “The problems with drugs and crime — no matter where it happens — involves all of us at some point.”

Chenoga said he felt there should’ve been a resource officer assigned to the high school years ago.

“If you talk to borough residents, the drug problem has become a very serious matter,” he said.

Last Wednesday, Georgette Pennington, of Punxsutawney, spoke to the Punxsutawney Area School Board at its committee meeting regarding the need for a police resource officer at the high school.

“I don’t want our school district to become the district nobody wants to send their kids to,” she said. “I want it to become something great. We have teachers and staff that care.”

Pennington said that DuBois Area School District hired its first resource officer with grant funding,and perhaps Punxsy could do the same thing.

Pennington said at the school board meeting that she also planned to discuss the idea of a resource officer with Punxsutawney Borough Police.

The idea has also been a topic of conversation during the school board’s meeting, especially after visits from Sheriff Carl Gotwald Sr. and Brett, the county’s K9 unit, and St. Marys City Police Officer Mike Shaffer and his K9 unit, Copper.

Both dogs are trained to seek and find drugs and other illicit materials.