Shaler Area welcomes second school resource officer

Thursday, August 29, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Shaler Area School District has hired Millvale police Officer Brenan Jackson as its second school resource officer.

The school board voted Aug. 21 to approve a three-year contract with Millvale, starting with the 2019-20 school year, for the school resource officer position.

“We’re excited to be more of an integral part of the school district,” Millvale Council President James Machajewski Jr. said.

Jackson joins Shaler Officer Frank Spiker, a school resource officer since 2014.

“Shaler Area is very fortunate to have such strong, cooperative relationships with our local police departments,” Superintendent Sean Aiken said. “The addition of a second school resource officer will provide increased uniform police presence in all of our schools and a direct connection to additional area police department resources to assist staff and develop special classroom programming for students.”

Shaler Area is responsible for the following fees associated with employing a school resource officer: for the 2019-20 school year, $56,628; for 2020-21, $65,831; and for 2021-22, $77,476. The borough is responsible for excess fees. The district may apply for grants to reduce the annual fees.

Jackson said he aims to serve as an overall community presence and mentor who educates students on safety and law-enforcement issues. He will have offices at Shaler Area Elementary School and Shaler Area Middle School.

Having “an opportunity to be proactive and put out a positive image (of the police), it made the school thing more attractive,” Jackson said.

Jackson, 32, worked as a UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh public safety sergeant for six years prior to joining Millvale’s nine-member force as a part-time patrolman in May 2018.

Jackson said he thinks his hospital experience will prove beneficial in his school resource officer role.

“It definitely gave me a different perspective on how kids deal with stressful situations,” he said. “Out in the street, we more often deal with the parents, and we don’t really consider what traumatic effect that may have had on (the children). So, when you get to school, you just hear, ‘Oh this kid is just always bad.’ You don’t think it may be because he saw his dad get arrested five times?”

Prior to working at UPMC Children’s, Jackson held patrolman positions with the city of Clairton and Rankin and Braddock boroughs.

He graduated from East Liberty’s now-defunct Peabody High School and attended Marshall University. After two years, he left college to attend the Allegheny County Police Academy, from which he graduated in 2009.

“My father and two of my uncles were Pennsylvania state troopers, so it was just kind of like a family business. My dad wanted me to try college first to see if I wanted to do anything else. I probably changed my major four times, and I knew I wanted to be a police officer.”

Jackson resides in Pine with his wife and son.