Weston school district hires new security guards

Weston Public SchoolsThere are some new faces monitoring Weston public schools these days.

The district has recently added four new security guards, increasing the number of its security staff from five to nine.

Weston High School now has three full-time security guards, while the other three schools each have two full-time security guards.

After the new security positions were created, two of the five existing security guards transferred to custodial positions within the schools, so the district recently hired six new security monitors to make a full complement of nine.

While the district started the 2012-13 fiscal year with five security guards, after the Newtown tragedy on Dec. 14, schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer decided to add more.

“These individuals provide another layer of security in their monitoring of visitors to our schools and oversight of perimeter security,” she said.

The security guards are employees of the school district and are not affiliated with the Weston Police Department. A police officer however, does monitor School Road, aka The Mile of Safety, during school hours.

For security purposes, Dr. Palmer did not want to discuss whether the security guards are armed.

New hires

The six new security guards have backgrounds ranging from law enforcement to corrections and public service.

Thomas Andreacchio has been assigned to Weston High School.

He worked for 20 years with the New York City Police Department, where he served as a detective-investigator, as a patrol officer, and in anticrime and narcotics.

For the past five years, he has worked in the private sector, investigating workers’ compensation claims. He is also the head varsity ice hockey coach for Brewster High School.

James Fisher has been assigned to Weston Middle School.

He is a retired detective lieutenant with the Danbury Police Department, and has been a patrolman, detective, patrol sergeant, detective sergeant, and detective lieutenant.

Mr. Fisher spent 16 years as a member of the emergency services unit (SWAT) and finished his career as a commander of the special investigations division (narcotics and vice).

He was awarded 24 letters of commendation, two exceptional police service citations, and two chief’s achievement medals.

Robert Hudak, a retired Bristol police officer with 25 years’ experience, is assigned to Weston High School.

During his tenure with Bristol, Mr. Hudak worked as a patrol officer, school resource officer (SRO), DARE instructor, and youth program director.

He was awarded Police Officer of the Year by the Connecticut General Assembly and given a state citation for his work with the Bristol Police Explorer Scouts Post 111.

Stuart Mendelson has been assigned to the Weston Intermediate School.

He spent 20 years working for the state of Connecticut Department of Corrections. He rose in rank from a correctional officer to correctional captain. He was a member of the Correctional Emergency Response Team and supervised the community enforcement office.

Upon his retirement, he was employed by the Department of Homeland Security as a transportation security officer.

Working security at Weston High School is John McGuirk, a retired deputy fire marshal for the city of Norwalk, where he worked in inspections, code enforcement, hazardous materials, explosives, investigation, and public education.

He also was a Norwalk Hospital paramedic, and for the past few years worked as a security officer for SSC Security. In that position, he was in the mobile patrol for Norwalk Community College.

Scott Pennoyer has been assigned to Hurlbutt Elementary School.

He recently retired from the Norwalk Police Department, where he was a senior training officer for most of his career. He was also the tactical team and scuba team operator for 26 years. Prior to working for Norwalk, Mr. Pennoyer was a police detective for the town of Wilton.

Existing staff

The new security guards will join three other guards already employed by the district.

David Leahy is assigned to Hurlbutt Elementary School. A former police officer for the city of Danbury, Mr. Leahy has been a Weston public schools employee since 2005.

PJ Mickle, assigned to Weston Intermediate School, was hired in 2007. She was employed by the Greenwich Police Department for 26 years. During her career she was a patrol officer, youth officer, school resource officer, DARE instructor, and detective.

William Melillo, assigned to Weston High School, came to the district in 2004. He was a captain in the Danbury Police Department, where he served for 25 years. During that time he worked six years at Danbury High School in a private-duty capacity.

School security overview

A comprehensive overview of school security will be presented by the schools at a public presentation on Monday, April 1, at 7 p.m. at the Weston High School auditorium.

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