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Staff at Aberdeen Middle School praised the work of Aberdeen Middle’s school resource officer, Jason Neidig, second from left, during the Aberdeen City Council meeting Monday night. He is pictured with staff members in a photo taken to help motivate students for their PARCC tests last week.
Staff at Aberdeen Middle School praised the work of Aberdeen Middle’s school resource officer, Jason Neidig, second from left, during the Aberdeen City Council meeting Monday night. He is pictured with staff members in a photo taken to help motivate students for their PARCC tests last week. (Courtesy Aberdeen Police Department/handout)

Taryn Martin has been a teacher at Aberdeen Middle School for 16 years, and until this year, never felt it necessary to come before the Aberdeen City Council to speak.

But on Monday night, she and three other staff members from the school appeared before the Aberdeen mayor and two city council members in attendance to thank them for putting a full-time school resource officer at their school.

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"We can't begin to tell you how excited we are to have him," Martin, who lives in Havre de Grace and is the wife of Havre de Grace Mayor Bill Martin.

Officer Jason Neidig, or "Officer Jason" as he's known at school, does cafeteria duty, plays basketball with the students, says hi to all of them and attends numerous meetings involving students and "has truly integrated himself to every facet of school each day," Martin said.

The students, many of whom have said they've never known a police officer before, enjoy his presence and they and the staff feel safer.

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"We come to thank you... for having the vision and the wisdom to provide our school with this amazing resource," Martin said, offering thanks from the 125 staff members, 1,200 students and countless others who are part of the school community.

The full-time position costs approximately $90,000 for salary, equipment and benefits; it was funded in the 2017 budget the city council passed last spring that took effect July 1.

Mayor Patrick McGrady said he felt it was important to add the position after some incidents reported at the school last year required police to respond and later prompted council members to call for a full-time police presence.

Students at Aberdeen Middle seek out "Officer Jason," just to say hello or to get his attention, Martin said.

"You've given us something not everyone else has and we appreciate that," she said.

Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Trabert said at the meeting he knew Neidig would be a good choice to be the SRO at Aberdeen Middle.

"He knows how important it is to get to kids that age before it's too late," Trabert said. "He enjoys his job, and loves to go to work every day."

He thanked the Aberdeen Middle staff for their feedback, saying it's nice to know when they're doing something good.

Aberdeen Middle opens new year with a school resource officer on campus

With the start of the 2016-17 in Harford County on Thursday, Aberdeen Middle has a full-time school resource officer assigned to the school for the first time. Across the Harford School system, there are 16 police officers on duty each school year, either a single school or rotating among two or three schools that are close to each other.

According to Harford County Public Schools, there were 16 school resource officers assigned at schools around the county from either the Harford County Sheriff's Office or one of the three municipal police departments at the beginning of the current school year.

The highest concentrations of SROs are in Havre de Grace, where the city police have single officers assigned to the high school, the middle school, Havre de Grace Elementary and Meadowvale Elementary. Those officers were put in place several years at the behest of the city government, which pays for them.

In addition to the SRO assigned to Aberdeen Middle, the Aberdeen Police Department has an SRO assigned to the high school and the Sheriff's Office has one assigned to the Center for Educational Opportunity next door to the high school.

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Other SRO postings around the county include Bel Air High, C. Milton Wright High, Edgewood High, Edgewood Middle, Fallston High/Middle, Harford Technical High/Southampton Middle, North Harford High/Middle, Patterson Mill High/Middle and Joppatowne High/Magnolia Middle.



Harford County’s “Choose Civility” campaign kicked off with a breakfast event at the Water’s Edge Events Center in Belcamp on Wednesday.
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