There may be a new face — and uniform — around Concord-Carlisle High School in the coming days: Carlisle’s new police chief has floated the idea of having one of his officers spend more time at CCHS.
“The Carlisle Police Department believes in the facets of community policing, and as chief, I believe in enhancing community relations with not only Carlisle Public Schools, but also CCHS,” said Andrew Amendola, who’s been chief since May.
“By having a Carlisle police officer engage with students occasionally,” he said, “I think it helps strengthen police-community bonds and develops greater partnerships with the students and faculty.”
Having just had an initial meeting with school administrators, Amendola mentioned the CCHS concept during his appearance with Concord Police Chief Thomas Mulcahy at last week’s League of Women Voters forum on policing.
To be clear, Amendola said, he’s not advocating for posting a full-time school resource officer from Carlisle at CCHS, as “the Concord Police Department and Chief [Thomas] Mulcahy do a tremendous job [in] those roles already.”
And the idea of a more visible Carlisle Police presence is not related to some increase in disciplinary, crime or safety issues at the high school, Amendola said. Rather, “It just goes back to strengthening that police-community bond, because students are a part of the community.”
As Mulcahy told the LWV audience, over the last three years or so, school resource officers have worked with students who need help with domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues at home: “They mentor [them and] they build relationships with them of trust,” he said.
For his part, Mulcahy said he thinks having a Carlisle officer drop by the school periodically is a “fantastic” idea: “Certainly, I’m in favor of working with them hand in hand and guiding students and problem solving — anything we can do to help them,” he said.
Laurie Hunter, superintendent of Concord Public Schools and the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District, also sounded an upbeat note: “It would be great for the Carlisle Police Department to be present and visible at CCHS the way that Concord P.D. is,” she said in an email. “We love to see the officers making connections with the students.”
Said CCHS Co-Principal Brian Seth Miller via email, “We really enjoyed our first meeting with Chief Amendola and look forward to partnering with him and the department on school and student needs.”
Among the first Carlisle officers to visit CCHS this week: K9 Athena, a black Lab whose current role is “community resource dog,” but whose job description may ultimately also include search and rescue.
Correspondent Kelly Walters contributed to this report.