WAYNE — The Wayne County Commission along with The Wayne County Sheriff's Department on Monday signed a contract with the Wayne County Board of Education to place a Prevention Resource Officer or School Resource Officer at each of the county's three high schools.
The program was proposed by the BOE in late January, though it had been discussed for nearly a year.
According to the contract, the agreement would station the Prevention Resource Officers (PROs) or School Resource Officers (SROs) at all three high schools including Spring Valley High School, Wayne High School and Tolsia High School to help decrease response time and increase general school safety. The police presence would also aide in the prevention of juvenile delinquency through programs specifically developed to respond to those factors.
"We had communicated that this was a priority for us. In today's day and age, with stories seen across the country, it has become adamant that we take into account safety across all the buildings in Wayne County]," Superintendent Todd Alexander said.
The contract calls for the Wayne County Sheriffs department to hire three additional full-time employees to its current staff to be paid at an hourly rate with any additional benefits.
When the plan was proposed, Pasley estimated then that three full-time employees at an hourly rate would cost approximately $182,000 annually. The finalized contract calls for an hourly rate of $35 beginning August 22, 2019 until June 20, 2020, or until the instructional term is completed by students.
During that time, it would also be expected of PROs to also report from time to time to any of the feeder middle, elementary or Pre-K schools.
Alexander said the main priority of adding the officers is to decrease response times in a case where police are needed, while also maintaining a public and constant officer presence as security purposes.
A specific list of duties includes:
n To perform law enforcement functions within the school settings
n To identify and prevent, through counseling and referral, delinquent behavior, including substance abuse
n To foster a better understanding of the law enforcement function
n To develop a better appreciation of citizens rights, obligations and responsibilities
n To provide information about crime prevention
n To provide assistance and support for crime victims identified with the school setting, including abused children
n to promote positive relations between students and law enforcement officers
n To enhance knowledge of the fundamental concept and structure of the law
n to provide advice regarding security procedures and practices at the school
Alexander added that although both the BOE and the commission have budget concerns, SROs were a priority for both the county and the school district to ensure better safety for students and faculty.
Another benefit of the constant presence is to hopefully establish a positive and healthy relationship with police at the student age, he said.