Do SRO Programs 'Criminalize Behavior' in Schools, U.S. Senator Murphy Asks

During a visit to Foran High School, Milford Police Chief Keith Mello addressed Senator Chris Murphy's concern about criminalizing behavior, saying, "I think you've seen the trend go the other way."

During a trip to Milford Friday morning, Senator Chris Murphy spoke with Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Feser, Police Chief Keith Mello and Mayor Ben Blake about plans for added security in the wake of the elementary school shooting at Sandy Hook.

While will be added to Milford elementary schools, the City is exploring the idea of adding School Resource Officers, officers are specially trained police officers who carry guns and become part of the school's environment, to Foran and Law, as well as to the middle schools. 

Murphy asked Chief Mello and Dr. Feser how they would deal with the concern that police officers in schools could "criminalize behavior in schools."

Chief Mello responded by saying that they were creating a program "that fits the needs of Milford."

"There has been a lot of discussion in the past about criminalizing behavior in schools, is that appropriate. I think you've seen the trend go the other way. I know in Milford we have a criminal diversion program," Chief Mello said.

"There are a lot of things that need to be handled within the schools," Chief Mello continued. "And that's a conversation that we'll have." 

"I share your concern," Chief Mello told Senator Murphy, "but I think we'll address that in our program appropriately."

Milford Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Feser seconded Chief Mello's comments, saying that "it's really the administrators that really take the lead in respect to making the decisions around schools."

"Unless a crime--a serious crime--was committed," Dr. Feser added.


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