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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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       The Woodmore school board has approved agreements with the police departments in the villages of Woodville and Elmore to establish a School Resource Officer program in the school system’s buildings.

        Under the agreements approved Wednesday, the officers will be on duty daily at the PreK-8 building in Woodville and the high school in Elmore.

        Tim Rettig, Woodmore superintendent, said the district and police departments plan to have officers in place for the coming school year.

        Memoranda of understanding between the police departments and school district state the goals of the program are:

-To ensure a safe learning environment for all children and adults who enter the building.

-To prevent and reduce potential harm related to incidents of school violence.

-To foster a positive school climate based on respect for all children and adults in the school.

-To create partnerships with behavioral health and other care providers in the community for student and family referral.

        The memoranda stipulate the SROs will be “…responsible for the majority of law enforcement activities at the school during school hours but not general student discipline. A determination of whether an activity raises to the level of a law enforcement activity shall be made in consultation with a school administrator.”

        School personnel, students and parents should take complaints about student misbehavior to the building principal, the memoranda say.

        Rettig said the district is allocating about $70,000 from the general fund to pay for the positions, which will be evaluated after the first year. He said the district may apply for grants to help fund the positions in the future.

        Sean Rizor, a board member, said the board and administration have been discussing the need for resource officers for several months.

        “We’re trying to do everything we can to prevent becoming another statistic,” he said.

        Woodville Police Chief Roy Whitehead said he’s considering offering the PreK-8 building position first to someone on the department’s roster of reserve or part-time officers. If no one is chosen, candidates from outside the department will be interviewed.

        Initially, he plans to keep the SRO on staff just for the school year but that may be expanded to 12 months in the future if village council agrees to fund the officer for the summer months.

        His department has had a patrol officer on the school campus daily for about two hours in increments of 30 to 45 minutes in the morning, afternoon and end of the school day, the chief said.

        “That’s something that went into effect in the last two or three months of the school year,” he said.

       

Smooth transition

        Elmore Police Chief Jeff Harrison said he expects a smooth transition for the high school resource officer as his department also increased its presence at the school campus during the 2017-18 school year.

        “We’ll have more of a permanent presence with increased responsibilities. We’re excited about the partnership,” he said, adding the village administration and council have expressed support for the SRO program.

        A patrol officer from the department’s roster will likely be assigned to the SRO position, the chief said.

        Cara Brown, a member of the school board’s finance committee, said the board is also looking at other safety measures and has allocated $45,000 from the permanent improvement fund for upgrading the high school entrance to make it more secure.

        Brown and Rettig said the district has kept a tight rein on spending, making the SRO expenditures possible.

      

 

 

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