Brookings and the Brookings-Harbor School District are entertaining the idea of hiring an armed school resource officer to provide a presence at the schools and assist school officials with troubled students — for a total estimated cost of $90,000.
The cost includes $50,000 in wages and $45,000 for insurance, taxes and retirement benefits, and would be split equally by the city and school district.
The issue will be outlined at a city council workshop Jan. 7.
An SRO would be in uniform — including a firearm — provide informal counseling to students as requested by school personnel. Also, establish and keep a sense of security on the school grounds by being a physical presence there.
Other duties that could be assigned to the SRO include supervising after-school activities, conduct motorized patrol on nearby streets and enforce laws and district policy.
The city and school district have already entered into an agreement whereby students who don’t meet attendance standards meet with a city magistrate to discuss ways to resolve the problems.
Having a school resource officer (SRO) on campus isn’t new to the district or the city. The city provided such an officer for the schools in the mid-1990s, and documents from those days indicated the school superintendent felt the venture was a success. But the school said it could no longer afford to pay its half of the position; the program ended in 2005.
District Superintendent Sean Gallagher initially met with police officials in September but indicated he wasn’t sure the district had it in its budget to fund its half for an SRO position. He learned in November that they did and in December, received unanimous approval to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the city to provide one.
At the last school board meeting, however, Police Chief Kelby McCrae said his department is short-staffed and didn’t know how to make an officer available.
The agreement between the two entities in 2002 notes that both entities would like to provide a positive image of law enforcement officers, share education resources dealing with health, safety, drugs and alcohol; create an atmosphere of safety on campus and at school-sanctioned events; and provide a coordinated effort between youth, parents, school officials and the community.