West Carrollton High School could have a police officer stationed at the building for the first time next school year if the police department, city and school district approve a proposed agreement.
The move would not be a reaction to numerous police responses to the building last school year because the discussions have been happening for a longer period, said West Carrollton Police Chief Doug Woodard.
“We’ve been in talks off and on over the past several years and we’ve just been looking at ways to put the program together and get it off the ground,” he said.
“And the school has stepped up and volunteered to fund a majority of the program” and “everything else that we were able to discuss and work out. So all of the details are falling into place.”
The proposal comes after a school year during which police have reportedly responded to West Carrollton High School more than a dozen times on issues ranging from intimidation to assault.
The possibility of installing a resource officer at the high school was discussed in February by West Carrollton Superintendent Andrea Townsend after a student was punched and concerns of bullying surfaced in the district that includes parts of Miami Twp. and Moraine.
A few weeks later, the high school was one of two district buildings put on lockdown after a video was posted on social media that appeared to show a gun on the Student Street property.
An 18-year-old WCHS student and another adult were later arrested, indicted and pleaded not guilty to charges now pending, court records show.
Simon Carroll faces charges of tampering with evidence and inducing panic. Isaiah Conner also faces those charges, plus obstructing official business, according to court records.
“Our involvement over the course of the past year has not caused us concern or trepidation,” he said. “We continue to do school walk-throughs and we have a great relationship with the school personnel.
“And we realize that things happen not just in our school district, but every school district,” Woodard added. “And sometimes they get reported and sometimes they don’t.”
A draft of a one-year agreement that would begin July 30 was discussed last month. It would need approval from both the city council and the board of education.
The resource officer would not be an additional position for the department but would be hired from within its ranks, Woodard said. Costs will vary, he said, but the board of education will be paying for the wages and benefits of the SRO, excluding worker’s compensation coverage.
The proposed agreement outlines a number of duties by the school resource officer. Among them: “prevent or discover commission of crimes, search for suspicious activity or situations, apprehend criminals …”
According to the draft, the officer will “provide law enforcement information and advice to students, staff and parents to provide a positive law enforcement presence in the school community to reduce incidents of school violence, to assist in creating and maintaining a safe and secure learning environment for students and staff and to respond to criminal acts which may occur in the school environment.”