Buchanan presented four school safety options — some of which would require approval of the school board. Those options included armed teachers, private security officers, part-time school resource officers, and full-time school resource officers.
Buchanan recommended that the city and school district utilize a full-time school resource officer for several reasons:
• The level of certification and ongoing professional training that this position demands requires hours outside of a part-time capacity.
• The selection of officers or security personnel for this position must be made above and beyond the measure of an individual’s ability to provide security.
• Concern over turnover that is often associated with part-time positions or private security does not lend to the stability that is needed in a school resource officer.
• The school resource officer will provide valuable police presence to the rest of the community during summer months when the call volume is traditionally higher for the police department.
• The stability that comes with students recognizing and interacting with their school resource officer helps to foster a trust that encourages them to pass on critical information to the officer on potential threats or situations at the school that they may not be compelled to provide otherwise.
Councilman Todd Hickman said the school resource officer’s focus would have to be on the older students.
Councilman Keith Funk was concerned that a third school resource officer might be needed because of the location of school buildings, adding “there’s a lot to keep an eye on.”
Buchanan said, “As the district continues to grow, we may need an additional one or two officers.”
Vice Mayor Dan Clark said the students know the school resource officers but before moving forward, he said a budget impact report is needed to get the costs of the second school resource officer.
Funk and Clark recommended the second school resource officer during the council meeting and said they needed to review the budget.
Mayor Robert Routson said that, “everyone wants and supports this (proposal).”