Monroe public safety committee recommends more police officers in schools

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones wants schools to improve security

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

If there is room in Monroe’s city budget, a second school resource officer could be on the roster to help protect the 3,000 students as well as staff memebers in Monroe Schools.

Last week, Monroe City Council’s public safety committee, received a report from Police Chief Bob Buchanan which gave the council members some options to enhance school security, a topic that has been in the wake of the tragic mass shootings at a Florida high school in February.

Buchanan said the cost of the second school resource officer’s salary and benefits would be about $105,000 a year, which would be split 50/50 between the city and the school district. He said the school district and city have a 60/40 split of the costs in the contract of the current SRO.

ExploreMORE: Monroe schools are interested in adding a second police officer in schools. Here’s what they’re saying.

Monroe Local Schools have had a school resource officer since 2002, according to Superintendent Phil Cagwin. He previously told this news outlet that he reached out to City Manager William Brock to discuss adding a second school resource officer.

Students change classes in the junior high section of Monroe Junior/Senior High School  in Monroe.
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Students change classes in the junior high section of Monroe Junior/Senior High School in Monroe.

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.

ExploreMORE: What Franklin schools are doing about security, including a possible armed addition

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.

ExploreMORE: Police officers in schools: Which districts have them, and what do they cost?

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.”

ExploreMORE: Franklin schools will consider adding a police officer in the high school after more than a decade

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).”