BERLIN — A former Hartford police officer has been hired as the school system’s first security director.
In his new position, John Schmaltz will be monitoring ongoing security work at school buildings, such as new vestibules and security cameras. He will also be creating emergency procedures.
"And most importantly, make sure ... students, faculty, staff and visitors feel comfortable,” said Schmaltz who started July 1. “And parents sending their kids to school are at ease knowing that anything and everything for the child's safety is being looked at or addressed. From the brief tour I had today of some of the schools, the Berlin School System is on the right track.”
Schmaltz said he’s looking forward to the challenge of creating the new position. He also worked as director of public safety at the University of Hartford from 2007 to 2017.
Chris Lyons worked with Schmaltz as a Hartford police officer and at the university.
“Berlin Schools made a great decision hiring him,” he said.
Before school starts again, Schmaltz will be making sure the school district is in compliance with all state requirements as it looks to hire armed security guards for the elementary schools.
Superintendent of Schools Brian Benigni said he and Schmaltz agree that the role of the guards is more than just an armed presence.
“We really want someone that's involved with the students, building relationships,” Benigni said.
Board of Education President Matthew Tencza said hiring a security director is an important step in making sure there is consistency at each school building and good communication with local emergency services, including the two Berlin police officers who are assigned to the schools.
“The district has been talking about a security director for a number of years now,” Tencza said. “Unfortunately that’s just the nature of the world we live in today that that’s something that we have to worry about now,” he said.