MASSENA — The Massena Central School District’s new school resource officer says he’s looking forward to making a difference in the lives of students.
“My goal in this position is I’d really like to be a positive influence on students and I can make a difference. I’m here to help. That’s the title of the position. I’m a resource for everybody to utilize. I’ve always told my son, ‘Helping people is a good thing. When you can get paid to help people, it’s the best job ever.’ Now he works at the hospital, so I guess he listened,” Jody W. Daggett told board of education members Thursday night.
He outlined his background and what he brings to the new job. Mr. Daggett spent 5½ years in the U.S. Air Force. He then spent 22 years as a university police officer at SUNY Potsdam.
“I’ve lived in Massena since I separated from the Air Force. I’ve lived in Massena for about 23 years. Both of my kids graduated from Massena Central,” he said.
Mr. Daggett said he served many roles at SUNY Potsdam, including teaching an accredited course.
“For those 22 years, I was a teacher, advisor, counselor, motivator, consoler, mentor and a friend to many, many students. Some of them still contact me today,” he said.
Now, as the district’s new school resource officer, which is also referred to as a special patrol officer, Mr. Daggett said safety is one of the top goals.
“I want to make sure every student feels safe in school. I want to make sure every parent feels that their child is safe in school,” he said.
Mr. Daggett said that, when he accepted the position, he talked to Superintendent Patrick Brady and Police Chief Adam J. Love to find out how much work went into creating the position and who else was involved in the process.
“My goal is, I really want to make this succeed because I’ve seen how much they’ve done,” he said.
“I’ve always felt that, whether we like it or not, there’s always somebody watching you, watching how you deal with people, watching how you carry yourself, watching how you handle adversity, watching whether or not you give up or whether you keep running. I’ve always seen that as a personal responsibility. I noticed it early on in my career as a university police officer that even though I didn’t know at the time, somebody was watching me and making decisions based on how I treated them or how they saw me treat other people. I think that’s a big part of this job. You’re always being watched and need to take what you’re doing seriously,” he said.
Although he’s working in the district, Mr. Daggett will be a member of the Massena Police Department and will be required to go through the same training as other officers, as well as special training for school resource officers. He will be paid at a daily rate of $166.66, totaling $29,998 for his 10-month assignment in the district. The position is being paid for by the school district using federal grant funding.
The school district and village of Massena worked jointly on bringing a school resource officer back to the district. They were seeking an active or retired officer from a local, state or federal police agency to serve as a special patrol officer within the district.
During its meeting in April, the district’s Board of Education approved the agreement with the village. The one-year agreement runs from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 and would need to be renewed annually, likely in June.
“We appreciate the partnership with the village of Massena,” Mr. Brady said.
The district previously had a school resource officer — then-Patrolman Patrick J. Serguson, whose salary was paid by both the school and the village.
The position was abolished in 2007 because the village and school district no longer had the funding to sustain it.