Burgettstown Area School District hires two armed police officers

February 12, 2013

Burgettstown Area School Board voted Monday in favor of hiring two armed police officers.

The vote was 6-2 with one member absent. Voting in favor were board members Chris Kramer, Merle Ayres, Donnie Grey, William Price, Garry Reynolds and Thomas Repole – the latter of which weighed in by phone. Voting against were Norma Alrutz and Marla Pendeville. Harry Sabatasse, who was absent, said Tuesday that he would have voted against the motion.

According to a petition filed Tuesday in Washington County Court, retired state police troopers Dean LaSalvia of Canonsburg and David Wargo of Cranberry Township, Butler County, will serve as the district’s school police officers. A recently retired state police corporal, LaSalvia had served as the staff unit supervisor at the Washington barracks. Both men will receive an annual salary of $35,000.

The contracts require the officers to be present at the elementary center and the high school building during the 185-day school year as well as work at all of the home football games. Additionally, the officers will be paid overtime for working at other after-school events as deemed necessary by the district’s principals and athletic director, the contracts show.

The district will provide uniforms for the officers, who are required to obtain their own firearms and bulletproof vests.

The officers are slated to begin Monday provided the court approves the appointments. Their contracts will run through June 30, 2014.

Andy McNeil has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2011 as a general assignment reporter. He covers courts and education, and also serves as a photographer and videographer. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University, The Behrend College, with a degree in English; Duquense University with a post-baccalaureate paralegal certificate, and Point Park University with a graduate degree in journalism and mass communication.

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