Retired officer Huenke to assist Absegami students

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Vice Principal Michael Wilbraham Vice Principal Michael Wilbraham

GALLOWAY – Absegami High School will once again have an onsite police presence.

School resource officers stopped being provided by the municipality during budget crises several years ago. But the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District has decided they’re needed.

 So new resource-attendance officers will be employees of the district.

“Each building will have one,” Vice Principal Michael Wilbraham said Tuesday, Aug. 21. “They are all retired police officers. They’ll work with students and check residency as well.”

But the best news, he said, was at Absegami, where the new officer will be Richard Huenke Sr. – former resource officer and innovator in a number of youth programs.

“It will be nice to have somebody here with a working relationship with the local police department,” Wilbraham said. “We always share information back and forth with the police.”

He said Huenke will work 40-hour weeks and wear “some form of uniform.”

“The officers are all licensed and will carry a weapon,” Wilbraham said. “They might develop programs. They might attend sessions. They’ll work professionally with our staff.”

He said Huenke and his colleagues at Oakcrest and Cedar Creek will be new resources for teachers.

“It used to be the big focus was ‘Don’t drink and drive.’ Then it was ‘Don’t use drugs and drive,’” Wilbraham said. “Now it’s ‘Don’t text and drive.’ Situations are constantly changing. And we’ll try to keep up.”

If charges need to be filed with local law enforcement, the resource officers will act in the district’s behalf. If a student drinks, Huenke will gather information – “Not necessarily to punish, but to get help,” Wilbraham said.

“We’re looking at using them quite a bit,” he said. “They’ll be involved with our crisis teams.”

He praised Huenke as having a “real interest in kids.”

“We’re really excited to have Rich come on board,” Wilbraham said. “It’s one more resource to help young people.”

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