City of Oconomowoc — A mid-year change of school resource officers at Oconomowoc High School has drawn concern from school board member Kim Herro.
The process of how the change occurred is what's under question, not the job performances of either outgoing resource officer Pat Hogan or his replacement, officer Adam Parkhurst.
The two officers have worked this month on the job transition by becoming acquainted with students, faculty and staff. The consensus so far is that Hogan will be missed and Parkhurst is making good first impression.
Herro, however, said she believes the board should be more involved in the process of choosing resource officers.
"To me, the policy should be that the officer should complete the school year" for reasons of continuity, Herro said in an interview. She praised Hogan, saying the former resource officer "has done a quality job, building trust with students. Trust is huge."
Herro said that her "number one (concern) is kids' safety. I think that age bracket doesn't necessarily take safety seriously." But she said Hogan has done well at raising students' safety consciousness, adding that "I'm sure the new officer will do the same."
Herro stressed that she has nothing against Parkhurst, but believes that the transition process "should be a three-way discussion" including the board as well as school and police administrators. She expects the topic to be discussed at the Jan. 17 board meeting.
Principal Joseph Moylan has a differing view.
"I would argue heartily that it should be a mid-year transition," said Moylan, who said he has gone through four transitions in his 15 years as principal. "If you did it at the end of the school year, not only does the (new resource officer) not know the kids," but the outgoing officer briefs his or her successor in June, three months before the newcomer takes over.
The mid-year transition was "absolutely the right thing," Moylan declared. "Pat knows all the kids. He spent two weeks with the new officer, and introduced him to all the kids."
The principal also said the Oconomowoc Police Department has decided that future resource officers will serve a maximum of four years in the position. Hogan was midway through his ninth year as resource officer.
"I absolutely am comfortable with the new officer, the help we got from the police department and the service Pat gave us," Moylan said.
As for the governance issue, "I have no position," Moylan said. "That's up to the school board."