ENGLEWOOD — During Tuesday’s meeting city council voted to add and additional police officer to the bring the total number of officers to 17.
The new officer will serve as a full-time Student Resource Officer for Northmont City Schools. Northmont has agreed to reimburse the city for approximately 70 percent of the officer’s salary (including benefits), which comes to about $80,000.
Over the past 12 years Englewood has provided a SRO to serve in the four elementary schools located in the city, but on an “as available” basis with the police department needs taking top priority. As a result the SRO spent less than 50 percent of the time in the schools during the school year. Due to manpower fluctuations many times the SRO was not available to the schools and it made it very difficult to schedule any activities.
The state does not require schools to have an SRO but emphasizes that it should be a top priority.
“Union is providing one, Clayton is providing one or two and we will be providing one under contract,” said City Manager Eric Smith. “An officer costs us about $120,000, so we will be picking up the remaining portion because he will be available in the summer and holidays when school is not in session. This is the same percentage of participation that the other jurisdictions are being reimbursed for their officers.”
Last year Northmont asked if Englewood could provide a SRO on a full-time basis, but the city could not comply with that request because it would have resulted in a loss of manpower on the street and would not have been in the best interest of the city. It was later discovered that Union and Clayton were being reimbursed for the cost of providing SROs to the school district and negotiations commenced.
“Increasing the number of officers to 17 will not only provide a full-time SRO to the elementary schools in Englewood for extra security, but it will afford additional police coverage on the street,” said Police Chief Mark Brownfield. “We will no longer have to share an officer during the school year.”