Board weighs employment of school resource officer

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     The idea of employing a school resource officer within the Monticello Community School District was a source of discussion during a work session of the Monticello School Board Aug. 14 in the district office.

     Monticello Police Chief Britt Smith was on hand to discuss what an SRO would do, how one would be paid for, and which other area school districts have one.

     During a 52-minute presentation and discussion, Superintendent Brian Jaeger, Smith and board members discussed the possibility.

     Jaeger said discussion began in the middle the last semester last year. He said the district would be looking at a 28E agreement between the district and the City of Monticello.

     The National Association of School Resource Officers defines the position as “a career law enforcement officer with sworn authority who is deployed by an employing police department or agency in a community-oriented policing assignment to work in collaboration with one or more schools.”

     Smith said: “There are so many different things that a school resource officer can facilitate and can assist with, beyond just the criminal aspects. The educational opportunities are much greater.”

     Smith said an SRO can provide guest speaking and safety presentations, can foster positive relationships between law enforcement and students, and provide greater building security and student safety.

     An SRO in Monticello would alternate between all four district school buildings, using an uneven schedule.

     He said there are grants the district can apply for to help pay for such a position.

     Smith said other area districts that employ an SRO include Maquoketa, DeWitt, Vinton-Shellsburg (since April) and West Branch (part-time).

     No action or voting took place on this issue, but board members seemed receptive to the idea.

     “I think it could be very beneficial,” board member Craig Stadtmueller said, adding that “it would be good to talk to other districts.”

In other board business:

     • The board discussed naming rights of school facilities. Jaeger said the board should discuss what rooms might be available for naming rights within the district and what the prices might be. Other districts allow naming rights for some of their venues, such as the auditorium at Cascade High School.

     • The board discussed policy 1005.5 regarding memorials and special recognition. Jaeger said current policy requires unanimous approval of any naming rights, which could create problems in the case of, for example, the bricks in the high school auditorium. The board will be discussing this policy more thoroughly in upcoming meetings.

     • The board heard an activities department update from Tim Lambert, who talked about successes of athletic programs within the district from the past school year, as well as updating the board on the upgrades to the high school gym.

     Lambert also brought up issues within the River Valley Conference and statewide, including shortages of officials, coaches and workers.



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