|No Objection From Council On School Resource Officers|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Wednesday, 21 August 2013 00:00|
Tipp City Council did not object Monday to the possibility of off-duty police being hired by the local schools to serve as school resource officers
City Manager Jon Crusey outlined for council the status of meetings with schools Superintendent John Kronour and acting police Chief Eric Burris on the best ways to provide more of a police presence in schools.
The discussions have been held over several months as the schools work toward enhanced security.
The district’s DARE officer, Dan Rittenhouse, will continue his work with the DARE program. This year, he will have an office at the Middle School and access to an iPad to reduce the amount of time spent at the police department to handle administrative work.
Discussions for an added police presence through an SRO have looked at a full-time SRO hired through the police department or SROs hired by the district from among off duty city police officers and Miami County Sheriff’s deputies.
Crusey said the schools likely will move forward with hiring the off duty officers, which would be a less expensive option.
The off duty work would be voluntary with the schools deciding when they want to hire officers (days/time) and then have officers sign up for the SRO work.
The Tipp City officers would be wearing their city police uniforms, using city equipment and potentially city vehicles, Crusey said. Because they are city officers, the city would be liable for the officers.
“Even though they are off duty, technically they are a police officer … We have that liability whenever they are on the street performing their duty,” Crusey said. The sheriff’s office would be liable for its employees, he added.
The option of a full-time SRO through the police department would mean either hiring another officer or diversion from street duty of an officer for the SRO role 75 percent of the time. That would mean the schools would pay 75 percent of the officer cost, including salary and benefits.
Depending on the officer’s pay rate and the type of insurance taken, the cost of a police department SRO would range from $57,000 to $72,750 for the schools and $19,000 to $24,250 for the city, Crusey said.
The city pays most of the cost for the DARE officer position except for a $23,500 DARE grant that pays a part of the salary but also is used to buy materials for the officer.
Crusey said he thinks the schools will move forward with the off duty officers option because the hourly pay would be less.
When asked if council had any concerns about the schools contracting with police officers off duty, none were aired.
Mayor Dee Gillis asked how the department’s 12-hour shifts would affect the off-duty work.
Crusey said those shifts mean officers have more time off, and more opportunity to sign up for the extra work. Between the police department and sheriff’s office, up to 60 officers would be eligible for the work, if interested.
Burris was asked if there was concern about having off duty deputies in a school they haven’t worked in if an active shooter situation would occur.
“There are goods and bads to that,” Burris said. “The good … from them being exposed to the schools like this is they are going to be familiar with the schools so, if we do have an incident, a lot of guys are going to be a lot more familiar than today.”
Burris said he would prefer the SROs be from the city police staff, but added “we don’t have control over that.”
If the school district tries the off duty officers as SROs and it doesn’t work, the topic of a city officer as SRO could be revisited, Crusey said.