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November 23, 2022

 

  • School district accepts COPS grant to add another SRO in area schools

By Myrna Trauntvein
TN Correspondent

Juab School District Board of Education agreed to accept a COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) on the Beat Grant Program grant in cooperation with Nephi City to put another SRO (School Resource Officer) in the district schools.

“This SRO would be for the elementary schools,” said Dr. Kodey Hughes, superintendent. “The grant was for three years and totals $125,000.”

This breaks out to approximately $41,000 per year for the three year period.

Hughes said there were two areas in Utah received the COPS grant, one was in Nephi for the SRO, and two grants were given in Lehi.

Introduced in House (January 12, 2022) to permit COPS grants to be used for the purpose of increasing the compensation and hiring of law enforcement officers, and for other purposes. To permit COPS grants to be used for the purpose of increasing the compensation and hiring of law enforcement officers, and for other purposes.

The school district and the city will share costs and then will pay for the continuing a 50/50 share after the grant term has expired.

“After the third year, the Federal government will pull out,” said Hughes.

The grant would be approximately: FY 2023 SRO costs: $120,132; FY 2024 SRO costs: $127,152, Federal share: $43,000, city share: $42,076 school share: $42,076; FY 2025, SRO costs: $132,684, Federal share: $42,000, city share: $45,342, school share: $45,342; FY 2026 SRO costs: $137,772, Federal share: $40,000, city share: $48,886, school share: $48,886; FY 2027, SRO costs: $143,064, city share: $71,532, school share: $71,532; FY 2028, SRO costs: $147,840, city share: $73,920, school share: $73,920.

Total Five-Year costs, Federal share: $125,000, city share: $281,756; school share: $281,756.

“The costs for the next three years will be in thirds--one third the federal government, one third the city and one third the district,” said Tracy Olsen, board vice-president. “The grant gives the state more police officers.”

All of the funding will go for a SRO that will serve Red Cliffs, Nebo View and Mona Elementary schools, he said.

The costs assume an inflationary component for wages and benefits and also an annual $3,000 budget for materials and supplies. A car lease for the SRO position would be paid out of the Police Department budget.

“Darin (Clark, district business administrator) and I looked at the funding resources we have to pay for the SRO after the Federal government drops paying for one-third of the grant,” said Hughes.

But when it came down to it, any service is for the kids and public safety was a priority.

He had worried about the elementary schools and the safety of the students and teachers there. The fact that another SRO would be present to help the schools relieved some of that concern.

He said that SRO Officer Sarah Robison would have an office at Red Cliffs Elementary but would be a resource for all the elementary schools in the district.

“The elementary school principals are excited about having an SRO,” said Hughes.

While an SRO’s primary responsibility is law enforcement they strive to employ non-punitive techniques when interacting with students. Arrests are used only as a last resort under specified circumstances.

“The position of SRO is heavily influenced by code,” said Kasey Wright, school district attorney.

“We have an SRO for education not just for protection,” said Hughes.

SROs are sworn law enforcement officers responsible for safety and crime prevention in schools. Beyond law enforcement, SROs also serve as educators, emergency managers and informal counselors.

SROs work closely with school administrators in an effort to create a safer environment.

The responsibilities of SROs are similar to regular police officers in that they have the ability to make arrests, respond to calls for service, and document incidents that occur within their jurisdiction.

Linda Hanks, board member, said they had authorized use of an office at Mona Elementary that will be used by sheriff’s deputies on a rotating basis. While not SROs, the deputies will provide a safety factor.

“Our elementary school SRO will also serve in Mona,” said Hughes.

The board unanimously agreed to accept the COPs grant on behalf of the school district.