Austintown schools to raise police-officer presence to 10

Austintown talks school safety

The school district currently has eight officers monitoring the campus and helping students. An additional two officers will join the district later this year.

By kalea hall


Austintown Chief of Police Robert Gavalier believes the Austintown school campus is pretty close to being one of the safest in the nation with an additional two officers soon to be added to the eight already in the schools.

At a news conference Tuesday, Gavalier, Superintendent Vincent Colaluca, Lt. Thomas Collins of the Austintown Police Department, and Emil Grahovac, truant officer, came together to discuss security at the Austintown campus of more than 5,400 students.

“The police department has worked very closely with Austintown local schools to continue the collaboration that has existed and something we want to continue in the future,” Collins said.

Since the 1970s, the Austintown Police Department and the school district have joined forces to ensure the safety of the students and also to help students.

Eight officers work in the district, including a Drug Abuse Resistance Educator officer, a truant officer and a detective who focuses on juveniles.

The department received a $250,000 grant this year from the U.S. Department of Justice to supply two resource officers for the school for three years.

“This is something in our district that we desperately needed,” Colaluca said.

With multiple officers visibly in the buildings, students now feel comfortable enough to go up and talk with them if they have a problem.

“We found with having a juvenile officer, she has a real rapport with the kids,” Gavalier said. “[This is] very helpful in preventing situations.”

The new resource officers will not be assigned until later this year.

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