SUNBURY — Northumberland County President Judge Charles Saylor authorized the Shikellamy School District to have a police chief and part-time officer on Monday.

Saylor then immediately swore in Todd Hoover, of Danville, as police chief, and Olegario Martinez, of Freeburg, as the part-time officer. The two men are retired Pennsylvania State Troopers with nearly 50 years years of combined experience between them.

"It's clear that both these individuals are highly qualified and the Shikellamy School District will benefit from their years of experience," said Saylor. 

District board members approved the hirings in June: Hoover at $28 an hour and Martinez as $25 per hour. The new officers will only have legal authority in Shikellamy buildings, properties and buses in the district and are working with local and state police, according to attorney Paul Cianci, who represented the district.

Cianci and Superintendent Jason Bendle said Hoover and Martinez have been authorized by the board to arrest as needed, but some more serious charges will be referred to the local or state police departments.

Saylor noted that Martinez's ability to speak Spanish will assist the district in its population of Hispanic families.

"I see my jobs as someone there to keep the peace, to get the know the kids and have a positive influence on the kids," said Martinez.

Bendle thanked Saylor on behalf of the school district.

"This is a step in the right direction for the safety of our schools," Bendle said.  

The district approved a $93,778 budget for the police force earlier this year.