BRIDGEPORT - Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez says he was deeply disappointed and concerned when he found out the Board of Education recently voted to eliminate the five school resource officers who are funded by the board.

He says the officers had an excellent rapport with the students in the school system that took a long time to build. He said when his regular officers take over the job in the fall, there will not be that same connection between the officers and the students. 

Bridgeport Police Lt. Paul Grech is in charge of the school resource officers, and says they have been recognized nationally for helping to keep schools safe and for reducing the number of school arrests by 75 percent.

But school board member Maria Pereira says she led the effort to cut the resource officers not just because the move will save the Board of Education nearly $500,000 a year, but because many of the duties the resource officers were performing were police duties.

Chief Perez says he was never consulted by the Board of Education before the panel voted on Monday to cut the five officers, and he would like to have the chance to meet with the board and appeal that decision.

Pereira says she will convey the message to the full board.