Ridgefield schools to add security director for $110K a year

Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield, Conn. Monday, Oct. 20, 2014.

Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield, Conn. Monday, Oct. 20, 2014.

Tyler Sizemore / Tyler Sizemore

RIDGEFIELD — The local public schools are hiring nine school security officers and aim to create a new security director position in the wake of a year-long study of school safety. 

The school system is shifting from a security guard model to a school security officer model, and Superintendent Susie Da Silva has pitched the new director role to the Board of Education. 

“We see the need for this position and the goal is to see if the Board of Education agrees now is an important time to do this, and important now is the key phrase,” Da Silva said at the board's Nov. 28 meeting.

She added it's important to have the nine school security officers on board "as soon as possible."

“It is equally important to have someone prepared to oversee their responsibilities and be involved in the hiring process,” she said. 

Board members said they supported the plan, which comes as school districts have taken a closer look at security after the Uvalde, Texas shooting that killed 19 elementary students and two teachers. 

Since last summer, the superintendent and Board of Education have been in a year-long engagement with First Responders Academy to study school security involving a review of policies and procedures, facilities and infrastructure, and personnel.

Da Silva said the role of the director of security would be to oversee the daily operations of school safety and school security personnel.

Other responsibilities would include ensuring that security systems at the school buildings are working, that they are structurally sound and that they are being effective. The director of security would look at visitor identification procedures, collaborate with administration officials and municipal agencies including health inspectors.

“Most importantly, the director of security would recommend policies and procedures that may need to be changed as a result of what they are noticing,” Da Silva said. “The person would also do in-service workshops and training for staff that would be supervised by the security director.”

One school board member, who saw the need for the position, said she was curious about the cost of hiring a director of security.

Da Silva said the goal was to have a director of security in place in January. She said the base salary for the remaining school year —from January to early July – would be $55,000. The base salary for a full school year would be $110,000.

Da Silva said there was a grant in place that would pay for the salary from January to July. But the full school-year salary would have to be included in the next education budget.