Hinsdale IL June 7 2019 – Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South high schools will be staffed with 15 security officers next school year as the District 86 implements a myriad of safety and security improvements.
Eight of the 15 will be former police officers, including Ed Rompa who retires Friday as police chief of La Grange Park. With mass shootings in public places and businesses happening nearly every other month across the United States, and as close as at the Henry Pratt company in Aurora in February, school officials said there is a need to prepare to prevent such a tragedy.
“The safety and security of our students and all our staff is the most important thing we do,” said school board President Nancy . “It’s such an unpredictable world, we don’t want to look back and say could we have done more.” Earlier this year, the school board approved director of security Kevin Simpson’s plan to replace most of the staff who supervised the students in the corridors and study halls with employees with law enforcement, military or security experience.
Simpson himself is the former Hinsdale police chief. Rompa said he and Simpson have known each other since they both attended Joliet Catholic high school. Rompa said he looks forward to working with his law enforcement colleagues on keeping the high schools safe. Working in the high schools is an extension of what he has done heading the La Grange Park Police Department, where all the officers are state certified juvenile officers, Rompa said.
The new security officers, who will start in August, include two former Hinsdale police officers with 30-plus years of experience, Mark Keller, who was assigned as the resource officer at Hinsdale Central, and Michael Coughlin, who as a crime prevention and juvenile officer and D.A.R.E. instructor became a familiar face at community events. Some of the new District 86 security guards also were police officers in Oak Brook, Lisle, Villa Park and deputy police chiefs in Forest Park and Cary. Seven people who were student supervisors in the district will be transitioned to the job of security officer.