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Meet North Branford Schools' Six New Security Officers

The six new hires join Robert Piascyk, who has been a security officer at North Branford High School for the past two years.

Since Dec. 14, there have been police officers stationed at all North Branford schools while school is in session as Superintendent Scott Schoonmaker, the Board of Education, the Town Council and the North Branford Police Department began to formulate a security plan moving forward.

"It's costing $2,000 a day to keep those police officers there," said Schoonmaker. "We've got a good plan moving forward, it's pretty progressive."

The Town Council has agreed to cover any shortfall in the Board of Education's budget caused due to the security coverage. 

In addition to assessing each building's security, the North Branford School District announced it was seeking school security officers. At the Jan. 22 meeting, it was reported that 55 applications were received. 

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"The quality of people coming in with expertise in those fields is impressive," said Schoonmaker. "We'll also work with an outside firm that will help us fortify our buildings."

According to the announcement placed by North Branford Schools, the salary for the position is $140/day (no other benefits). Schoonmaker said that hiring the six new security officers will raise his proposed budget increase from 2.35 percent to 2.99 percent, noting the total cost would be about $120,000 per year.

Six of those applicants were hired and their paperwork was finalized on Jan. 31, including Patrick Redding, Robert Norman, Kristen Fitzgerald, Charles Watts, Stan Girard and Henry DeBenedet. The six join Robert Piascyk, who has been a security officer at North Branford High School for the past two years. 

The following information, provided by the North Branford School District, includes each security officer's assignment, as well as job history and experience. Photos of each officer are in the attached gallery.

Security Officer Bios

Robert Piascyk, NBHS 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

  • Retired South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority
    -Chief of police for 25 years
  • Former police officer for Woodbridge and New Haven police departments
  • 35+ years in law enforcement
  • Participated in many training exercises including Active Shooter Response

Patrick Redding, NBIS 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

  • Retired City of New Haven Assistant Chief of Police  – Patrol Division
    -City of New Haven uniformed police officer for 27 years including detective sergeant in charge of youth services 
    -18 Commendation Awards
    -2 Medals of Merit

Robert Norman, TVES, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

  • Sergeant, Guilford Police Department
    -Full-time police officer for 29 years, police supervisor for 21 years
    -Police tactical and management training
  • State of Connecticut Emergency Medical Response Technician
  • Graduate of Connecticut Criminal Justice Command Institute

Kristen Fitzgerald, JHS, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

  • Police officer, City of New Haven for 21 years
    -17 years on the motorcycle unit/traffic team
    -field training officer
    -participant in active shooter scenario classes
  • Bachelors of Music Education from University of Hartford

Charles Watts, NBHS/NBIS, 2-6 p.m.

  • Branford Public Schools security officer
  • Police Lieutenant, Hamden Police Department for 26 years
    -Shift commander supervising 3 sergeants and 15 patrol officers
    -Firearms and defensive tactics instructor
    -Special reponse team member
    -Supervisor of the Narcotics Enforcement Unit
  • Course work in Criminal Justice at University of New Haven
  • Previously employed as transportation security officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Deputy Chief Judicial Marshal for the State of Connecticut Judicial Marshals.

Stan Girard, TVES, 2-6 p.m.

  • Retired, North Haven Police Department
    -Patrolman for 25 years

Harry DeBenedet, JHS, 2-6 p.m. 

  • Retired, Yale University
    -Police Lieutenant, 22 years
    -Supervisor in charge of training
    -Supervisor, Bomb Squad, Training Division, Firearms Instructor, Special Response Unit 
    -Supervisor, Internal Affairs
    -Administrative and Student Liaison
  • Retired, New Haven Police Department
    -Police officer, 20 years
    -Training officer, Firearms/Tactics officer, Internal Affairs Officer
  • Author of CT law regarding bomb threats
  • Awarded more than 40 citations
  • Degree in Criminal Justice Management from University of New Haven 
Mary February 01, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Im proud of our towns leadership in putting guards in school. An armed school guard intervened and ended a school shooting in Atlanta just yesterday. Heres the link. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/world/55742445-68/shooting-atlanta-police-says.html.csp
Audrey Fitting February 01, 2013 at 03:25 PM
I am delighted with this decision that will preserve and protect our children while at school. I am very proud of our town for implementing such a secure feeling for all of us. God forbid we ever need them, they will be on the job and ready. Go North Branford, excellent choices.
Christa Trudeau February 02, 2013 at 04:44 PM
So proud of our little town! Hoping the rest of ct follows this needed example.
limto February 04, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Waste of money. Money should have been spent on more teachers or better technology.
NB DAD March 06, 2013 at 12:26 PM
From what I am hearing from my kids is that the guards are not armed. I picked my son up yesterday morning from the intermediate school the front door was not locked and I saw a person looked like a student open the auditorium door and walk in. I am all for armed guards why are they not armed and why won't they help when a fight broke out last week in the intermediate school and he just sat there. The town froze the school budget so they can have these guards.

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