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School Cop Replacement Upsets Residents

More than 1,000 people have expressed their support for School Resource Officer Bryan Wright after it was revealed he would be replaced in September, including the board of education.

Moorestown residents are upset after learning the police department plans to replace long-tenured School Resource Officer (SRO) Bryan Wright with a different officer at the beginning of next school year.
 
Wright, who is stationed at the high school but covers the entire district, has been the Moorestown School District SRO for 13 years. The current plan, according to Lt. Lee Lieber, the department’s public information officer, is for Wright to be replaced by Ptl. Don Brauckmann in September.
 
Lieber explained the decision is not a critique of the job Wright has done at the school district—“Bryan’s done a fine job out there”—but rather the normal course of business within the department, and a chance for Wright to advance his career.

“You don’t normally see people in that position for that long of a time,” said Lieber. “He will be given opportunities he doesn’t have now.”

Lieber said Wright had previously expressed interest in other roles within the department. However, others who have spoken with Wright since it was revealed he would be replaced claim the officer doesn’t seem to want to leave.

“He gave me no indication that he knew why this was happening or that he wanted it to happen,” said Terry Vosbikian-Testa, who has a son at the high school and another who will start as a freshman in September.

Frustrated and confused, Vosbikian-Testa created an online petition to keep Wright in the school district. As of Tuesday night, the petition had nearly 1,300 signatures.

“Bryan is a face we see and we know. There’s a comfort level we have (with him) and our children have,” she said. “I don’t understand, at a time when people are so uneasy about school security, (why they would make this change).”

Cyndi Voss, another parent with a child in the district, was also disconcerted when she heard the news of Wright’s replacement, and sent an email to nearly 200 friends, expressing her concerns and asking for them to support Wright.

In it, she wrote that, in order to do the job of a school resource officer effectively, “you need legacy, experience and you need people and processes that families, faculty and most of all our kids trust and respect. As we all know, Bryan epitomizes that. Why remove a trusted, experienced officer of the law who works with our boys at every age, coaching football and lacrosse, and volunteers his time to help our families in need during the holidays? His dedication goes beyond walking the hallways and carrying a gun.”

The issue has also spawned multiple social media campaigns over the last few days, encouraging residents to show their support for Wright.

Lieber touted Brauckmann’s experience, which includes several years with the Moorestown Police Department and 10 years with the Cinnaminson Police Department, including four years as an SRO in the Cinnaminson School District. Brauckmann is a Cinnaminson resident and a member of the township committee there—a fact that also concerned Testa and Voss, among others, who believe Moorestown’s SRO should be a Moorestonian.

Lieber stressed that the department would spend a significant amount of time transitioning Brauckmann into the new role.

“Obviously we’re taking into account the public’s concerns, and we’re looking at different ways to transition,” said Lieber.

Township manager Scott Carew met with members of the department Monday, including Police Director Harry Johnson, to discuss the situation after people began contacting the township about Wright’s removal. Carew said the township, in conjunction with police, is examining various options to address the public’s concerns, but declined to reveal details until those options have been properly vetted. He hoped to have more information later this week, and said the township would be meeting with the school board and administration to get their feedback.

Carew said he wouldn’t question the department’s logic in making the decision to replace Wright.

“They have the experience, the training and, quite frankly, the authority to make this decision,” Carew said, but added, “Could it have been handled less awkwardly? Yes.”

School district officials were also somewhat upset with the decision. School Board President Don Mishler said, “The board is perplexed, not only because of how Officer Wright has performed as the school resource officer, but also the timing (of the decision) with respect to the heightened awareness about security issues.”

Mishler said the board met with the police department on Thursday and that was the first they heard Wright was being reassigned. He said at that meeting the board “expressed vigorously” its interest in keeping Wright as SRO. Superintendent Brian Betze said the department also asked the district to reach out to Brauckmann to speak with him about its concerns.

Lieber explained the decision to replace Wright was still “in the planning stages” as of late last week, but the information got out prematurely, so the department reached out to the school district “before a lot of misinformation got out.”

For people like Voss and Vosbikian-Testa, the issue is as much about Wright being replaced as it is about the way the decision was handled.

“When it’s our kids who are going to be affected, I think transparency would have been a better way to handle it,” said Vosbikian-Testa. “It all comes down to transparency and thinking about the people who have a vested interest in this.”

Amanda W February 07, 2013 at 03:00 PM
Don is a great cop and even more so an excellent politician. He has saved the Residents of Cinnaminson tons of money by helping to ELIMINATE the SRO PROGRAM in Cinnaminson much to the residents dislike. But now he is the right man for the job in Moorestown? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck IT'S A DUCK!
Poggop February 07, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Can I bring my pets?
News Flash February 07, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Hey poggop, we all know that your pets are up on the dais so of course bring them, it's their meeting
Crystal Clear February 07, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Remove this remark???Why? It’s the truth! Block me? Why, for doing a little homework after reading all this stuff! You’re the one that made this personal by attacking the other officer’s motives. Re-read some of your earlier comments: “he only wants this job for the hours”, how is he going to have the time, etc”. So I do a little digging and I find these two business ventures Bryan is involved with. Makes me wonder how much of his time is spent during the day on these things. I also find out that the weight room job he “volunteers” at carries a $2,164 stipend during the school year and a $1,805 stipend during the summer. I am not sure if he actually collects this money or makes a profit on any of his other ventures but it still goes to the “time” argument you so passionately make against the other guy. Does Bryan make money from Quake Lacrosse? Does Bryan collect a school stipend for the weight room? All I am saying is that maybe Bryan has a lot on his plate too. Also makes me wonder if this is why you, and Bryan are so upset about him leaving his day job.
Deeply Concerned February 07, 2013 at 04:16 PM
Poggop - so just what is your relationship to town council? Curious comments and name. You seem awful eager to distract attention away from Council.
Amy February 07, 2013 at 04:40 PM
What are you implying that the BOE candidates had something to do with this? The BOE has issued a statement that they were not involved so why do you continue to insist of redirecting the attention away from the township officials? http://www.mtps.com/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/2293942/File/School%20Resource%20Officer%203.pdf?sessionid=c9605b6942a23977cac5fed5cca8632c Let me quote "Thus, the schools will not have a say in the selection of an individual to fill Officer Wright’s shoes." What we have here is the town council has no decision in this, the BOE has no decision in this, the town manager has no decision in this, we have no decision in this but here we are still waiting for the truth.
News Flash February 07, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Crystal, since you seem to know Don or at least have a pretty good handle on him given your defense of his character (which btw should not be in question IMO), can you tell us if it is true that he pushed for the elimination of the SRO position in Cinnaminson? If so, can you explain to us why he is now filling a position that he deemed unnecessary in his hometown?
Eric Stratton (Rush Chairman) February 07, 2013 at 05:12 PM
I can't get past the whole need for a police officer in a school. Remember when we all went to school and parents and administators were able to keep the thugs/hoodlums/pot-heads/bullies under control? Since we now deem it acceptable to have the govenrment decide what our children need, this is what we have to deal with. This would not even be an issue if parents did their job an did not let their kids act like bafoons in school.
MotownFan February 07, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Crystal... How about you shed some light on why Mr. Brauckmann wants this job. If no other police officer wants it why does he?
Ginger Hayes February 07, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Crystal. You remarks are slanderous and inappropriate. You are attacking Bryan's character with the clear implication that he is lying about how he spends his day therefore cheating the system. You are implying that Bryan's volunteerism is profit driven. No one has said anything about Don personally other than his free time will not be spent in Moorestown. You clearly have no children in this district and have little clue what your talking about. I go out of my way to state my thoughts without personal attacks. So yes. You are spreading insinuating remarks that bing into questions Bryan's integrity... Robb said he wouldn't allow this
Ginger Hayes February 07, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Everyone go to TOWN COUNCIL MONDAY FEB 11!!!
Lived in both towns February 07, 2013 at 06:09 PM
DON ONLY DOES FOR DON AND NOBODY ELSE. The people of Cinnaminson hate him!!.
Ginger Hayes February 07, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Crystal?..
Ginger Hayes February 07, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Poggop. Absolutely!
Edmond George February 07, 2013 at 06:12 PM
How true - All of this pratter is maddening. Facts are : Harry has no idea why he's doing it - time for change is catchphrase - I think we all know whjy thhis is being done. BOE opposes it - read their posting on the POE web site. Scott Carew has the power under the charter to control Harry - the authority of the police chief, even as to personnel, is "subject to the Town Manager". Scott Carew is not acting because Town Counsel, which is now controlled by the GOP, and the political climbers of our town - haven't directed Scott to do so. So by ignoring our charter, they are allowing the police chief to run roughshod over the desires of well over 1300 citizens who have objected. If thats not political - then what is? These are all facts. Also facts, professionals "weren't renewed" that is the same as being discharged. Democrats who served for nearly a decade on committees were remvoed without notice or even the courtesy of being told. It's politics - plain and simple. So I urge you all to call the mayor and send her communicatiosn to show her that this town isn't her political playpen.
Ginger Hayes February 07, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Eric... Sadly there is a tiny bit f truth to that
ML February 07, 2013 at 06:24 PM
What I can't understand is why some of you people can't figure out how to spell the editor's name correctly. It's "Rob," not "Robb." His name is all over the site, on almost every story, on Facebook. Are you illiterate, or just inattentive? If you're going to go after people for not having their facts straight, shouldn't you make sure you're spelling words correctly.
ML February 07, 2013 at 06:26 PM
What I can't understand is why some of you people can't figure out how to spell the editor's name correctly. It's "Rob," not "Robb." His name is all over the site, on almost every story, on Facebook. Are you illiterate, or just inattentive? If you're going to go after people for not having their facts straight, shouldn't you make sure you're spelling words correctly?
Bill February 07, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Maybe you missed the general message here. Over 1500 residents want the SRO there and they don't want the (local) government telling us who it will be based on someone giving out a favor. I don't want the SRO there to keep my kid in line. I want him there to deter the sick baffoon that might decided to get 10 minutes of fame by hurting a bunch of school kids. Remember when we didn't have to worry about that ? And yes, I'd be in support of having an armed officer in each of the schools.
Ginger Hayes February 07, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Good point. My apologies Rob
Poggop February 07, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Sounds logical Eric
MotownFan February 07, 2013 at 07:05 PM
WOW, ML. Of all the things to respond to. And a bit mean dont you think? Do have any thoughts on the actual issue?
Poggop February 07, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Sounds logical Eric
Poggop February 07, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Sounds logical ML
MotownFan February 07, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Crystal. You seem to be Officer Brauckmann's only friend.
Ginger Hayes February 07, 2013 at 07:07 PM
My apologies Rob
Ogie Oglethorpe February 07, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Well...I guess if you have a police officer in the school no one will drop a whole truckload of fizzies into the varsity swim meet, deliver the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner, the trees won't be filled with underwear at Halloween, and the toilets won't explode every Spring.
Let the inmates run the asylum February 07, 2013 at 07:28 PM
What part of breaking the law don't you get?
Let the inmates run the asylum February 07, 2013 at 07:42 PM
It amazes me that people like Ginger Hayes understand police tactics and procedures better then a person who we pay a six figure salary to run our department and keep our town safe. This officer should be put up on charges of insubordination for taking his gripe that he didn't want to work night to his friends at the MEA and HSA. If he prevails he will be untouchable and can pretty much dictate his terms of employment going forward and if that is the case Harry Johnson should resign because he will not be able to effectively manage his/our employees anymore because the threat of public opinion will overtake his ability to manage as he sees fit. Then we can hire Ginger to be police chief. Also, shame on Don Mischler for taking a side as an elected official on an issue his should have no say in.
Rob Scott (Editor) February 07, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Okay folks. The time has come to shut down commenting on this story. There'll be an update either later today or tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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