EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 1, 2013

Plaistow names new school resource officer

SRO will begin in 'a few weeks'

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — PLAISTOW — There will soon be a new school resource officer at Timberlane Regional High School.

Police Chief Stephen Savage announced Officer Ryan Garney would be starting at Timberlane in “a few weeks.”

“We think he is going to be a good fit over there,” Savage said.

Garney will replace Officer Joan Marsilia, who was the school resource officer for 11 years. Marsilia was asked not to return to Timberlane at the beginning of this year by Savage and Superintendent Earl Metzler.

Garney will be at Timberlane three days a week once he begins. Marsilia was at Timberlane full time.

“(Garney) wants to try it part-time at first,” Savage said. “If it’s a good fit, then we might add some more days. It could always change, based on staffing and district desires as well.”

Garney graduated from Roger Williams University in 2009 with a criminal justice degree. He has been with Plaistow police since May 2012.

“He’s worked with troubled juveniles in the past,” Savage said. “He has a history and background in that skill set, so we feel he was a good candidate.”

Savage also said Garney’s age was a factor.

“His age, his attitude and his education all came into play,” he said. “I’m sure the kids might like him better than someone my age.”

Although there has not been a school resource officer at Timberlane so far this year, Savage said there have been few problems.

“Nothing that’s been noteworthy has happened over there,” he said. “We will get our usual calls, which would have happened regardless of whether we had an SRO there or not.”

Savage said he has directed patrol officers to occasionally do random patrols at Timberlane, given the absence of a school resource officer.

He said that Garney had been identified as a candidate for the position several weeks ago. But he said the last few months were not the right time to place Garney at Timberlane.

“It was a big staffing issue,” Savage said. “We have had several people completing their field training right now. Once they are done with that, then we will be in a better position to transfer someone over there. That way it won’t have an impact on coverage around town. We thought we’d be able to do it earlier than this, but it would have been a hardship.”

Neither Garney or Metzler was available to comment.