Concord Police Chief Joseph O’Connor will retire later this month. In celebrating his tenure in Concord, it seems a perfect time to share the impact of his leadership, as evident in the strong and successful partnership between the Concord Police Department and the schools. This partnership reflects the role of the entire department in the community.
The police assist the schools in countless ways. School security is a top priority. The police are essential in the plans we develop, the messages we share with students, staff, and families, and ultimately the trust we have in the response should an incident occur. The Concord Police are leaders in this work, practice regularly, and help to ease our minds during times when school violence is tragically far more frequent than it should be.
All of the School Resource Officers including the current ones, Detectives Cara Paladino and Derek Rodrigues, offer constant support and guidance. Our collaborative work grows strength in programming, intervention, and support to students. Their engagement in the schools fosters a positive perspective of the police in the community. I saw this first hand recently when middle schoolers thanked and fist-bumped with the SRO’s following the recent ALICE drill.
Most pronounced as of late is the progressive efforts of the Concord Police Department to hire a mental health counselor to assist in the ongoing mental health crisis that they and we experience first hand on a daily basis. With the guidance of a mental health professional, the department leads with care and concern for every individual they encounter.
Thank you, Chief O’Connor, for your positive and visionary leadership. Best wishes on a well-deserved retirement!
Dr. Laurie Hunter
Superintendent of Schools
Concord Public Schools/Concord-Carlisle Regional School District