Retired state trooper takes school officer role

Shawn Hardy
William G. 'Will' Confer Jr., a retired Pennsylvania State Police trooper, became the Greencastle-Antrim school police officer on Jan. 3.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District started the new year with the hiring of a school district police officer.

William G. "Will" Confer Jr., 47, of Chambersburg joined the district on Jan. 3 — a year and a day after retiring from Pennsylvania State Police.

About Confer

Confer grew up in Clinton County, then served six years in the Marine Corps as a military police officer and in corrections at Quantico and Arlington in Virginia.

After his military service, he entered the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in March 1995.

He spent two years on the road at Hazleton, where he "got a little tired of snow" — 140 inches his first year.

Confer transferred to the Chambersburg barracks, where he served from 1997 until retiring Jan. 2, 2016. He was evidence custodian for eight years and also was one of the main firearms instructors.

He jokes his wife, Tina, told him he had to go back to work. The Confers live in Chambersburg and have two children, a daughter, Rachel, 23, and a son, Brandon, almost 21.

"This job is something I knew I was qualified to do and being retired at 47 is pretty boring," he said.

On the job

So far, his time at G-A is being mainly taken up by the paperwork and processes necessary to be sworn in as a school police officer, which is normal, according to his peers in Waynesboro and Chambersburg, who have been good resources. When everything is in order, he will be sworn into the $45,000, 190-day position by Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham.

Confer's office is located next to the auditorium at Greencastle-Antrim High School, but he spent the first several days at the elementary school in the office of Travis Blubaugh, director of transportation, school safety and security, because of the fatal shooting of one G-AHS high school student, allegedly by another G-A student, on New Year's Eve.

He stayed away from the high school so the kids didn't think he was here due to that "tragic incident."

After being discussed for some time by the board, the search for a school police officer started in the fall to ensure the safety of students and staff.

"The position is responsible for providing law enforcement to the district campus and protecting employees, students, visitors and property in order to create a safe and healthy learning environment," according to an advertisement for the position. The job description is broad, ranging from patrols and enforcement of laws and district rules to providing a resource for students, teachers and parents.

Building administrators are being asked for input about what they want Confer to do, Blubaugh said.

"We don't want him marching around like a cop," said Blubaugh. "We want to use him in a good way to go into the classroom and talk to the kids."

It is important to reach primary-elementary age students about "the positive things police do that you don't hear about," Blubaugh said.

Confer already has been asked to speak to civics classes.

His duties may also include attending bigger evening events like homecoming.