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City Ends Contract for School Resource Officer inNeosho District - KOAM TV 7

City Ends Contract for School Resource Officer with Neosho District

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 The city of Neosho has ended its contract with the school district for a school resource officer.
  The contract  dispute has been ongoing for several years and officials say its time to step back and reevaluate the program. 

Michelle Wilson connects with kids at the Neosho Middle school. She's a security guard for the district and will still be on staff. But now that the city canceled its contract for a school resource officer, commissioned  law enforcement officers won't have that presence here. A problem for the superintendent.
 
Dr. Dan Decker says, "I  think the presence of a resource officer may hinder some things that  maybe some things  that would go on if the officers wasn't in the building. I think another strength of resource officer program is having resource officer in your grade school middle school to develop relationship between them with and law enforcement see as a positive instead of a negative." 

 


The city manager and police chief say it's a long running contract  dispute over who reports to whom. But argue the  officer needs to be able to do his job. 

City manager Troy Royer says, "I believe with the essence and mission of the SRO  program is that that officer is involved in everything that happens out there.  I believe it should be  a team effort of the administration and the officer both to decide who's gonna handle this."

Decker contends, "I think sometimes you have the law enforcement world and you have the school world and things are done differently in both."

 The police chief says crimes that would need to be investigated include drugs, stealing and fights but that's something the officer needs to be involved in from the start. 

Chief Dave McCracken says, "Our position is,  if its a crime and falls under the safe schools act that we need to be involved initially and not receive it at a later date."

Royer says the officers base office was moved.  "He used to have an office  in the high school where he could interview students and  to do investigations and ended up this last 
 year he was moved up to the administration building." 

According to Decker, "The intention wasn't  to take him out but to make him more accessible everywhere else. I think that was a little maybe misconstrued."

Both sides say they are willing to negotiate more. But for the safety of students Decker will look at other options for now.
"Do we look to the county and see if we can get assistance from county  or the juvenile office or private security. There's  some scenarios out there as a district we've got to look at the possibilities,  with   the  number one goal of returning that mode of safety to the high school," says Decker.

 Police say officers will still patrol around the schools especially during high traffic times. 
     
 The city will pick up the cost of the officers contract.
     The districts portion was 37-thousand dollars. 
    He will serve on patrol but will continue prevention education programs in grade schools at no cost to the district.


 

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