More Miami County school districts want school resource officers

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak will hire at least one new deputy to help cover increased requests for school resource officers in county schools.

The most recent request was from the Miami East Local Schools, to have a full-time SRO in its buildings come fall. Discussions are also going on with other districts.

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In discussions with county commissioners, Duchak said the sheriff’s office representatives are working with Newton district leaders on a plan to train staff and provide guns that would be stored in biometric gun safes in the school.

The staff involved in the program will go through basic peace officer training academy training of about two and one half weeks and participate in active shooter drills. The Newton program is scheduled to begin next school year.

“The staff will not have firearms on their person, which we recommend against,” Duchak said.

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The sheriff’s office currently provides a full-time officer at the Newton school and the Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua.

Under the sheriff’s department’s formula for SROs, the school district is charged for nine months of a full-time deputy’s top pay with benefits. The county pays the remaining three months for summer when deputies are assigned other duties.

The cost to a district for one SRO full time would be $62,725. The county share would be $20,908. The contracts are for three years.

The sheriff’s office covers the costs for uniforms, equipment, training and vehicles. The SROs receive a week of special training to become certified and then attend the annual state conference for SROs.

“I have no problem. We’ve got to protect our schools, there is no doubt about that,” Commissioner Jack Evans said of the additional hire. Fellow Commissioners John “Bud” O’Brien and Greg Simmons said they had no problem with the hiring.

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The Bethel Local Schools are looking to hire a part-time SRO, said sheriff’s Capt. Jamie McGlinch. Bethel schools’ Superintendent Ginny Potter said the school board will vote on the hiring at its next meeting.

The Milton Union schools are reviewing their part-time SRO set up including discussing working with the local police department on a program, McGlinch said. The contract with the Milton Union district expires at the end of this school year.

The Miami East district pays off duty deputies for services as do the Bradford schools.

“There is a lot that is fluid right now with districts,” Duchak said. “We have definitely had an increased interest in SROs.”

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