Resource officer ready to greet students

A familiar face will be greeting students when they return to school in Madawaska. Kathy McCarty spoke with the school's resource officer about his duties.

When school begins in Madawaska, Lt. Jamie Pelletier says he'll be ready for students and staff. A grant for an extra officer at the Madawaska Police Department enabled him to assume the 20-hour-a-week role in March, while still serving as detective for the department.

"It works out OK because while I'm not an employee of the school, I'm still primarily an employee of the police department. I can take my criminal cases and I can come and work on them here in my office. You know, if it's just paperwork or writing reports or making phone calls, I can do everything right from here, and I'm still here, you know, for the school."

At school, he tries to get into the classrooms to talk about distracted driving, alcohol, drugs and other concerns affecting youth.

"A couple of the programs we put together this year is that we had the state come with their distracted driving simulators and we ran 120 kids through two simulators and also had the seatbelt convincer and everybody ran through that in one day. So that was good. It was real beneficial. The kids loved it, you know, everything was great."

In the patrol world, he says most everything is negative - that people don't call because they're having a good day. After 18 years with the department, Pelletier finds working with the kids a nice change.

"Every time a group of kids comes in to see me, you know, they're all happy because it's always something fun."

Having an officer in school, he hopes, will serve as a deterrent for those intent on wrongdoing. Despite wearing a uniform, the transition to working in a school environment has been a smooth one."

"Within two or three weeks, I felt like I was just kind of blending in with everybody else. They were looking at me kind of like I was a teacher in the school, you know. Or no different than any other teacher in school. You know, the kids say hi to me. I'll go up to the lunch room, I'll sit with them, I'll eat with them, we'll chitchat. You know, it's really good."

Pelletier credits his personal experience with kids - he's the father of a 16-year-old and a 3-year-old - with his success in his new position, which he calls the highlight of his career.