School Resource Officer Peter Blume’s priority is keeping students, staff, and visitors to campus safe in the Pocantico Central School District. His secondary goal is to get to know the students and serve as another special resource for those who may need an extra pair of ears.
“How was your weekend,” he asked several students as they changed classes and passed him in the hallway. Many of them gave him a high five or a fist bump and others shared with him what they had done during the two-day break.
These brief encounters help SRO Blume to get to know the students and in turn they to get to know him and his role at the school.
SRO Blume is new to the school and begins his day greeting students and parents as they arrive, offering a hearty “good morning” and “hello” to that oft chaotic time. He then makes his rounds through the school checking each door to ensure they are closed securely. It’s his job, he said, to make sure that no one can enter the building except through the main entrance at the front of the school. He also wants to know who is in the building at all times.
A 26-year veteran with the Mount Pleasant Police Department, SRO Blume went into police work with the intent of becoming an SRO. He previously worked three days a month in the Valhalla Union Free School District where his two teenagers attend school. As a father, he understands the concerns parents have when it comes to sending children to school these days.
“Safety is paramount to me,” he said.
“We are very happy to welcome SRO Blume to our school,” Superintendent of Schools Rich Calkins said. “He not only helps to reinforce our commitment to student and school safety, but will no doubt be a wonderful mentor for our students.”
The addition of an SRO at the school is an additional safety measure that was adopted by the district. Recently, the school completed several security upgrades including door hardening, locks, exterior and interior camera upgrades, a lockdown system, and classroom enhancements.
“We understand the importance of having exemplary safety measures in place,” Mr. Calkins continued. “We want to ensure parents feel comfortable sending their children to school here and that, in turn, students feel comfortable being here.”
Already Officer Blume has been invited into several classrooms to introduce himself and talk to children about his role at the school, what police officers do and what skills they need to do their jobs.
“I am a resource,” he said of how he sees his work at the school. “I am not a disciplinarian. I’m like the school nurse or the speech pathologist.”
He encourages students to let him know if they see something odd at the school, no matter how unimportant it may seem. He wants them to know that police do more than just give out traffic tickets and arrest people. “We help people,” he said, adding that he left his career in business to pursue police work for the sole purpose of being able to assist others.