Weston Police Officer Joe Mogollon was approved as the new School Resource Officer (SRO) by the Police Commission at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 5.
Police Chief John Troxell said Mogollon was his choice for the assignment and his recommendation was “wholeheartedly accepted” by the commission.
Mogollon, 39, was born and raised in Norwalk and has been an officer in Weston for nearly 12 years.
Mogollon is the first police officer to be appointed as an SRO in Weston. He will be stationed at Weston High School.
Mogollon said the SRO job seemed like a “progressive step” for him. “I enjoy teaching and having contact with all of the kids and the students and their parents,” said Mogollon. “I’m looking forward to getting started and increasing one-on-one communications with kids in town.”
Mogollon is a member of the internet crimes against children task force, which investigates different crimes, such as child pornography and sexual assault against children online and on their cell phones.
“Internet safety is so important,” said Mogollon. “I plan to do as much as I can to teach students about that.”
He also plans to integrate a more comprehensive drug awareness program in the schools and focus on safety while driving, including DUI programs, texting, and driving awareness.
While Mogollon’s full curriculum and workload is still being fleshed out, he has been talking to area SROs to get a feel for the position and its responsibilities.
Additionally, he will attend a two-part SRO training session in August at the Wethersfield Police Department.
The first part of the session will focus on school-based policing while the second part is a two-day course on lesson plan development.
“I’m really going to be doing a lot,” said Mogollon. “I want to be a friendly face around the schools that all of the kids can feel comfortable talking to.”
Troxell said four Weston police officers applied for the SRO job, all of whom he called “great choices.”
Ultimately, he said he chose Mogollon because he was already an established presence at the schools due to his involvement on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
“This was not an easy decision for me to make,” said Troxell. “I lost sleep over making this decision. Everyone that came forward would have been great, but I think Joe’s familiarity with the schools was a positive thing.”
Troxell said if the SRO program is successful, he hopes the town would consider adding a second SRO to the schools in the future.
“I don’t see why people wouldn’t want to add another SRO,” he said.
Troxell thinks the SRO program will be a positive force for community relations, especially between the police and kids in town.
“This is going to be a lot of work for Joe, but he has indicated that he’s ready for the responsibility,” said Troxell. “Everyone at the school is going to be very happy with Officer Mogollon.”
First Selectman Nina Daniel said she has advocated for the SRO position since she was on the Board of Education, and was pleased an SRO has been assigned to Weston High School.
“I am especially gratified to have brought to completion this initiative which had been stalled for many years,” she said.
Daniel said the SRO must address the “most critical threats to our youth and in our schools,” including preventing loss of life due to a violent intruder, and preventing loss of life, mental incapacity or criminal violence due to abuse of drugs.
“We’re very proud and happy that we’ve been able to find the right person for the right job at the right time,” said Daniel.