By GINA KINSLOW
Glasgow Daily Times
A joint effort in Metcalfe County between the fiscal court and the school system will allow for a school resource officer to be placed in the middle and high schools in August.
The entities are co-funding the position, which will be full time and will be filled by a deputy from the Metcalfe County Sheriff’s Office.
“Our goal is when school opens in August, we will have a school resource officer on our grounds full time,” said Dr. Benny Lile, superintendent of Metcalfe County Schools.
The resource officer will be assigned to the middle and high schools most of the time, but he will also be a presence at the intermediate and primary centers as well, Lile said.
Lile said SROs provide additional security at schools, even though he’s aware of no incidents to warrant a need for more security.
“It’s an extra individual to help provide stability and security,” he said. “We just think it’s a good positive all the way around.”
Metcalfe County Judge-Executive Greg Wilson said the partnership should be beneficial.
“I think it’s definitely a need and I was just glad we are going to be able to help fund it,” he said. “I think it would be a good thing for the sheriff’s department to do this.”
The county will cover the cost to provide benefits for the resource officer, which are expected to cost between $17,000 to $18,000 a year, while the school system will contribute up to $20,000 a year to the position.
The school system has not had a school resource officer for about four years. At that time, the position was partially funded by the city of Edmonton.
“I know we had it for at least four years and then the school district decided they didn’t want to fund it anymore,” said Mayor Howard Garrett. “The city didn’t want to fund it completely on its own, so that’s when the city got away from funding the resource officer.”
Lile said Metcalfe County Sheriff Rondal Shirley has been helpful to the school system in providing a deputy for the position.
“I’m excited about it,” Shirley said. “I’m excited the sheriff’s office is involved in it. I’m proud it worked out that way.”
Assigning a deputy to be the resource officer will have no effect on the sheriff’s office’s ability to patrol the county. When the deputy is not working at the schools, he will be assigned to a regular patrol, Shirley said.