Uniontown Area School District bolstered its security team with the addition of an experienced police officer who will double as the district’s truant officer.
At a brief special meeting held Monday evening, school directors hired Donald Gmitter as a full-time police officer for the district.
Gmitter, who is currently employed as a detective for Uniontown City Police, will start in the position Aug. 15, said Superintendent Dr. Charles Machesky, adding that Gmitter will retire from the force prior to joining the district.
The hiring ensures the district has experienced leadership for its security force, said Machesky.
Machesky said administration will meet with Gmitter and district Chief of School Security Don Marietta to determine the responsibilities of each, but the district will rely on Gmitter’s expertise and experience as a civil police officer to lead the security team.
The district employs about 20 security guards.
Like district administration offices, Gmitter’s office will be housed at Uniontown Area High School and the officer will travel throughout the district on a regular basis. He will have arrest powers and the ability to write citations, said Machesky. He will also carry a firearm.
The district formerly staffed a police officer through a contract with Uniontown City Police. Officer Mike Garrow Sr. served in that capacity for about six years before retiring in May, said Machesky. The district paid the city an annual stipend for Garrow’s service.
Through Gmitter’s hiring, the district consolidated two positions into one.
In addition to his policing duties, Gmitter will serve as the district’s truant officer, a position that was left vacant with the resignation of Phil Michael in June.
Gmitter was hired at a salary of $51,000 with benefits, as outlined in the Act 93 district administration compensation agreement.