MONTPELIER, Vt.- Students in Vermont’s Capitol City will have a new school resource officer at the end of the year.
“It’s a bridge between the police department and the students in the community,” said Cpl. Matt Knisely, Montpelier Police Department.
Knisely is Montpelier’s current school resource officer, a post he’s held for seven years.
“You’re working with students and their parents and their families to help them be successful and help them be productive members of our society,” he said.
School security has been scrutinized across the country after a number of school shootings. Most notably at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Flordia and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“It’s certainly not the paramount reason you’re there, we’re not school security guards by any means,” he said. “But it is an advantage for schools to have someone there that is trained and able to deal with a threat if one were to arise.”
Knisely calls his work with Montpelier’s school district a rewarding experience.
“As police officers, we know if you don’t graduate high school, you’re probably going to deal with the police again,” he said. “You need to have that base education to be successful in life so getting them through there is a great thing.”
In January Knisely will be handing off his duties to a colleague.
“It’ll be great to be able to be that first person that they interact with in law enforcement,” said Diane Mathews, Montpelier police officer.
Mathews is no stranger to the community. She has been with the department for three years.
“The first year I was here, I spoke with Matt and asked him some questions about it,” she said.
Mathews says it’s a new challenge she looks forward to taking on.
“Continuing the community outreach that i currently do on a different scale with the three different schools in our district,” she said. “Making contact with children in the halls not just when they’re in trouble or need to speak with an officer.”
The official switch will take place in January. Knisely will be staying with the department doing more detective work.