Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
One of the most discussed topics around town over the last couple of months has been the possibility of removing the School Resource Officer position in the Cities Police Department.
The City of Eudora had planned to eliminate the position and use the officer currently assigned to the SRO position for other needs and patrols in the city. At the July 30 City Council meeting, the Council had been presented a letter that was scheduled to be sent to the School District to inform the District that Police Department would be pulling the officer and reassigning him in the Police Department. The Council voiced some strong objections to pulling the officer at that meeting.
While the Council did not offer a resolution or make any vote that would prohibit this action from being taken, the objections of the Council were noted by City officials and the decision was made to keep the SRO position for the current school year. The city will also continue to pay the entire cost of the SRO position for this school year. Officials have indicated that they intend to ask the School District to help share with the cost of the SRO starting in 2013-2014 academic year. The SRO position was initially funded by a grant the city received in 2002. When the grant expired in 2004, the city continued to pay for the position in its entirety.
At this month’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Don Grosdidier mentioned this possible request by the city to share in the cost of having an officer in the schools during the school year.
“You can make a request that asks the School District to pay for it (referring to the SRO position), but I said I can tell you that we’ve cut teaching staff, administrative staff, we don’t have as many school nurses as we would like to have in our buildings and in terms of priority, I’m not sure the School Resource Officer would be a position that would be a higher priority.”
Grosdidier did say that while School District officials are in favor of the SRO position, they are cognizant that it is entirely paid for by the city and they put no pressure on the city to continue the position.
According to Eudora Police Chief Grady Walker, the officer who has served in the SRO position in recent years will be assigned to full time activities in the Police Department and the Police Department will begin seeking applications for a new SRO Officer. Both Walker and Grosdidier acknowledged that due to limited staffing in the Police Department since the beginning of 2012, the SRO officer was used more for city police activities than he was in the schools during this year.
Walker also reiterated his statement from earlier in the summer that the DARE program will continue in the school district uninterrupted and that the DARE program was never in danger of being eliminated.