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Monaco’s civilian reserves are making schools safer

In the entrance of the very modern Lycée Technique and Hotelier of Monaco, a new presence has been felt for a few days. Alain Ortega, retired police chief, has resumed service: he joined the civil reserves created by a ministerial decree on the 12th of December.

“This reserve was created according to the Princely Government’s wishes to reinforce security in schools. Stemming from an idea by ​​the Director of Public Security, we called on retired police personnel,” said Lieutenant Patrice Biagi, in charge of the civilian reserve.

“The eye of a policeman remains the eye of a policeman”

Although Monaco is famous for its tranquility, it cannot turn a blind eye to the various attacks that have recently taken place in France. “Police try, as much as possible, to act preventively. And the presence of a man in uniform in establishments, without necessarily being a policeman, contributes to this prevention. They have about thirty years of experience; they know what they’re doing. And the eye of a policeman remains the eye of a policeman,” continued Lieutenant Biagi.

Those in the reserves are more likely to detect suspicious behavior. In case of an incident, they will be able to contact the Monegasque police directly, and in case of emergency, they will be able to describe the situation better than a civilian. Very often, panic prevails over reason, and precious minutes are lost. The civilian reserves constitute a true collaboration with Police.

They are equipped with a radio (but without firearms), they are also informed of events that take place near the establishments which could have influence a given situation.  Many retirees want to stay active. It should be highlighted that they are given flexible schedules, and a remuneration in addition to their pensions.

“There is also a certain detachment from the system that comes with retirement, a certain serenity that gives us hindsight,” explains Alain Ortega.

And this new benevolent presence has been rather well received. Jean-Marc Deoriti-Castellini, headmaster at the technical high school and hotelier of Monaco, has not ceased his praise: “Staff and families are delighted with this initiative. We went into the classroom to explain to the students, and again, we did not have any objections.  And after a few days, all I can say is that it’s like we’ve always worked together.”

Conflicts avoided

Alain Ortega said, “I went to the social services of the establishment to explain my mission: it is not a matter of transposing the Police into the institution, but rather to have staff with a professional understanding of safety to support them.” The headmaster said that the reserves enforce the rules of procedure and add security.

“We have already been able to avoid several fights that have been scheduled by students over the past two weeks,” said Lieutenant Biagi. Truly integrated within the institution, the experience of these men will detect cases of school harassment, suspicious behavior which may indicate domestic violence, or simply dissuade mobs that would disrupt the tranquility of the school. They will also secure pedestrian crossings. Three establishments of Monaco (Charles Ill College, Lycée Technique and Hotelier, and the Lycée François d’Assise / Nicolas Barré) were already set up with new officers. This system will be generalized very quickly, according to Lieutenant Biagi.

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