The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 14, 2013

Central Cambria will make police officer’s role permanent

Justin Dennis

EBENSBURG — Administrators from Central Cambria High School said they plan to keep their Cambria Township resource officer on staff permanently.

Principal Kim McDermott said there have been no new investigative developments regarding the written threat found at the high school in late April, but keeping at least one officer on hand throughout the school day could go a long way in defusing social or safety issues before they begin.

Superintendent Vincent DiLeo said embedding the officer into the district will be beneficial in many ways.

“It’s just his presence is what we’re looking for, someone who knows the law,” DiLeo said. “Getting someone that is from the area and can make some inroads with the kids is what we’re looking for.”

Since May 1, township police Officer Christopher Bopp, who’s been patrolling school grounds during peak traffic times while off-duty, has been the usual, familiar face. Bopp will be replaced by another off-duty officer when he’s unavailable.

“I think it’s incredibly important to build that rapport,” McDermott said. “They’re not here as an armed guard, they’re here to help kids resolve issues, even if they’re not related to school safety.”

Bopp’s services, which cost about $100 per day according to DiLeo, are being funded through a collaboration between the Central Cambria Education Association, Cambria Township police and the community of parents.

McDermott said parents in the district have exhibited overwhelming support to help keep school safety at its peak.

“We still have parent contributions that are filtering in daily,” he said.

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