School, village officials agree to fund school resource officer

May 24, 2018

Cathy Kozlowicz

The Courier

Marshall school officials unanimously voted to hire a new, full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) for the 2018-2019 school year when the board met May 16.

The school district will split the cost of the position 50 percent with the village. The Marshall Village Board voted in favor of funding half of the position at its May 8 meeting.

Village Administrator Adam Ruechel said the cost for the full-time SRO position will be between $91,000-$93,000 a year. This amount includes all the benefits with the position. Ruechel said that workers’ compensation is higher for patrol officers due to the nature of their work.

Currently, patrol officers, Joey Hoops and Daniel Schuster, serve as school resource officers when situations arise. “It is reactive right now,” Police Chief John Nault said. He also said that most of the calls come from the high school. The school district already pays $10,000 a year for this service with the police department.

The SRO will work full-time with all four of the Marshall schools when school is in session. This person will have seven vacation days to use during the school year, and in the summer, the officer will work at the Marshall Police Department.

With the fear of active shooters that has been intensified after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Nault said it became a priority to have a full-time officer at the school when the schools are in session. A schedule will also be worked on for this person to be at sporting events and extracurricular activities.

“This (having a full-time police office) was one of my goals when I became chief,” Nault said.

The person in the position will create relationships with students and staff, implementing programs and working towards general safety and the safety needs tailored for each school.

“It will also help response time in the schools,” Nault added.

Marshall High School student Konner Hellenbrand said that he wanted an officer in the schools. “There is no reason why kids can’t feel safe in schools,” Hellenbrand, who is the son of former Police Chief Lee Hellenbrand, said. “Some people may say that this will make our school like a prison, but I think this is necessary,” he said.

Nault said he is looking at an internal hire.

If there is an internal hire, the police department will need to hire another officer.

The next steps, Nault said, is to draft a memorandum of understanding with the school board and the village. Each year, the school board, the police department and the village board will review performance and re-evaluate the partnership.

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