By S.D. Plissken | February 23, 2020
The bad ideas prevalent elsewhere have begun to arrive on Milton’s doorstep. Cash on delivery.
In this warrant article, Article #3, the Milton School Board, the Milton Board of Selectmen, and the Milton Police favor hiring a School Resource Officer (SRO), i.e., a police officer, for the Milton school system. They propose to split the cost between them. That is to say, the taxpayers will foot the entire bill, but partly in their School taxes and partly in their Town taxes. This article concerns only the Town portion of the costs.
Article 3: School Resource Officer
To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Eighty-nine Thousand Seven Hundred Sixty Dollars ($89,760) to be added to the Milton Police Department General Operating Budget to Fund a School Resource Officer. This sum will be for half a year for 2020 and will then become a full year position in 2021 and will become a new line in the Police Department General Operating Budget. This sum will be for salary, FICA, Retirement, Medicare, Workers’ Comp, and Insurance cost. (Majority Vote Required).
Estimated tax impact is $0.18 (Eighteen Cents).
Recommended by the Board of Selectmen (3,0,0).
Recommended by the Budget Committee (6,1,0).
The division between budgets, as well as errors made in calculating the correct amounts, make it difficult to state the actual bottom line for this innovation. Between salary, benefits, pensions, etc., it would seem to be well north of $100,000. That is to say, it will be at least double the average salary of a Milton taxpayer. The “million dollar” Police department price tag, of which so many have complained, will become the 1.1 million dollar Police department. Some might think that enough on its face to reject this article.
In recommending it, it was said that it would allow for a revival, potentially even an expansion, of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. An audience member pointed out that there have been literally hundreds of academic studies of this program. Nearly all of them rated it as having been completely ineffective, and many claimed it was actually counter-productive, in that it actually induced greater drug involvement.
Our results confirm the findings of a previous meta-analysis indicating that Project D.A.R.E. is ineffective. This is not surprising, given the substantial information developed over the past decade to that effect. Critics of the present analysis might argue that, despite the magnitude of our findings, the direction of the effect of D.A.R.E. was generally positive. While this is the case, it should be emphasized that the effects we found did not differ significantly from the variation one would expect by chance. According to Cohen’s guidelines, the effect size we obtained would have needed to be 20 times larger to be considered even small. Given the tremendous expenditures in time and money involved with D.A.R.E., it would appear that continued efforts should focus on other techniques and programs that might produce more substantial effects (West, et al., 2004).
Another advantage put forward was the opportunity to foster a relationship of trust between students and police. That would seem to be a very poor lesson to learn at school, compared with what lawyers tell us. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, long ago, that the police may lie to you (Frazier v. Cupp), and that they are under no obligation whatsoever to either help or protect you (Warren v. District of Columbia; DeShaney vs. Winnebago; Town of Castle Rock vs. Gonzales). That same audience member pointed out that any good attorney would advise you to never even speak to the police, let alone trust them.
The Milton Police Facebook site has for years featured a Thin Blue Line flag as its header, which might tell you something about their culture. It supposedly signifies that they are all that stands between society and chaos. However, in many places, Thin Blue Line displays are regarded instead as a kind of “gang” colors. For that reason, many departments prohibit their display on uniforms, vehicles, Facebook displays, etc. It does not project a relationship of trust, quite the contrary in fact. We stick together against you. (Desecrating a U.S. flag in this manner is not a crime, although the U.S. Congress has tried several times to make it so. (It would take a constitutional amendment to criminalize flag desecration)).
One is reminded of the shenanigans that took place a couple of summers ago. One or more Milton police officers disappeared off the payroll amidst a flurry of secret 91-A meetings. In the final meeting, the records were unsealed, but only for the police chief, so that he might include some of its information in his personnel records. The taxpayers are not to know what happened, we are not to be trusted with that information. The Thin Blue Line.
The audience member mentioned the many readily available videos of school resource officers assaulting students. This is true, it has happened many times. It is not necessary to belabor this point, but by way of proof here is a single one chosen at random: NBC Nightly News: North Carolina School Officer Fired After Video Shows Him Body-Slamming A Student.
The final argument in favor of a SRO was that that officer would be on hand to better document any incident. That is to say, they would be better prepared to move a student into the criminal justice system: the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
The Milton Board of Selectmen recommended this unanimously, as is their usual practice.
Duane, James J. (2012, March 1). The Right to Remain Silent: A New Answer to an Old Question. Retrieved from papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1998119
Regent University School of Law. (n.d.). Don’t Talk to the Police. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE
West, Steven L., et al. (2004, June). Project D.A.R.E. Outcome Effectiveness Revisited. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448384/
Wikipedia. (2018, November 23). DeShaney v. Winnebago County. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeShaney_v._Winnebago_County
Wikipedia. (2019, October 18). Frazier v. Cupp. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frazier_v._Cupp
Wikipedia. (2020, January 1). School-to-Prison Pipeline. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School-to-prison_pipeline
Wikipedia. (2020, February 23). Thin Blue Line. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_blue_line
Wikipedia. (2019, August 28). Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_of_Castle_Rock_v._Gonzales
Wikipedia. (2020, January 6). Warren v. District of Columbia. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia