TIVERTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A school resource officer currently on paid suspension is accused of deploying his department-issued TASER on Tiverton school grounds on multiple occasions.

A newly filed affidavit and arrest warrant obtained by 12 News shows 34-year-old Jacob Rapoza is facing simple assault and disorderly conduct charges, both of which are misdemeanors.

Court records show Rapoza pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday. He was released on personal recognizance and is due back in court March 30.

According to the affidavit, Tiverton police got a complaint about Rapoza’s conduct on Dec. 18. Investigators learned he was attending an assembly at Tiverton High School in September for a presentation titled “signs of suicide.”

For reasons unknown, Rapoza pointed his TASER at the ground and activated it, causing “loud sparks” just as the assembly was about to start, the report states.

One student said she was seated about 10 feet away and was “startled and afraid” by the officer’s alleged actions.

On a second occasion about a month later, Rapoza is accused of deploying his TASER inappropriately while attending a school-sponsored football game. According to the report, a high school guidance counselor told police she saw Rapoza walk toward her, pull out the device, point it “directly at her” and activate it, causing it to spark.

The counselor said the TASER was “within feet” of her body, according to police.

As a result, police said they seized Rapoza’s TASER and confirmed through a download of its records that it was deployed, consistent with the victim’s statement.

Tiverton Police Chief Patrick Jones was unable to comment further on the situation, citing the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).

In January, Tiverton Public Schools announced in a social media post that its school resource officer was no longer employed by the district.

“We were made aware of a situation and are working with the proper authorities as required,” the post said. “No students were harmed or in harm’s way in the reported incidents and Tiverton Police continues to provide SRO support for the school district.”

12 News reached out to Tiverton Superintendent Peter Sanchioni at the time, but he declined to comment. Jones would only confirm the officer was on administrative leave with pay, and declined to give further details.

In the meantime, the district’s interim school resource officer had her first day on the job Friday.

“High school’s busy. It’s a good busy,” Officer Jacqueline Smaldone told 12 News.

The Tiverton SRO gig is Smaldone’s first in law enforcement, but not her first time working with adolescents. For the last seven years, she’s worked at Butler Hospital.

“Being in this position and kind of acting as a mentor in a positive reinforcement for them, it’s huge,” Smaldone said.

In addition to safety, Smaldone said the goal is to simply be there for kids.

“I wear a uniform and a badge, but I just want them to look past that and create a better bond between law enforcement,” she added.

The chief said there’s been support from parents to eventually hire a second school resource officer, and budget talks are underway.

“They’re always stretched very thin,” Jones told 12 News.

Hiring a second officer would give them better coverage across the town’s five schools.

“I know as demands increase, security issues come up,” Jones explained. “I think it would just work out better to have two SROs with one primarily focused on elementary school issues and then the other focused on middle school and high school issues.”