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Council approves SRO contract
Monroe High School
Monroe High School

MONROE — Members of Monroe Common Council agreed to take on the $30,000 cost of employing a school resource officer with the School District of Monroe at their meeting May 20. 

Through work between Monroe Police Chief Fred Kelley, District Administrator Rick Waski and City Administrator Phil Rath, an official agreement between the district and the city was drafted. Council approved it 8-0 during the meeting. Alderman Michael Boyce was absent. 

Aldermen agreed to allow the team to draft the contract in late March. 

Kelley said the best plan would be to hire a veteran police officer as the SRO. The resource officer would be an employee of the city, though they would be stationed within district buildings throughout most of the year. The officer would have an office at Monroe High School and would patrol different buildings throughout the week, serving as a constant presence for students. 

The person who works within the school building can’t be looking for an easy retirement plan or think they can slack off because they are with the district, Kelley said in past meetings. He stressed that it must be the correct person with a focus on serving as a liaison for students and a partner with administrators.

One anticipated role of the SRO is to be “proactively communicating with students and staff while being a visible presence within the school.” Kelley said in past meetings the proactive role could include presentations to students about the role of a police officer or their rights as citizens.

In past meetings, some council members have expressed a desire to hire a new officer to ensure there is sufficient staffing within the police department. Kelley said he would prefer a new officer be hired, contending the department is currently short-staffed.  

On May 13, the city Salary and Personnel Committee agreed to consider future department staffing as part of the 2020 budget process. Plans currently contend that the SRO will begin with the district in August and possibly attend training sessions in the summer months. 

The agreement approved Monday allows a split cost, with the bulk of the burden placed on the district for the salary and benefits of the officer. Monroe schools agreed to pay 60% of the wage and benefits typical to a patrol officer in a monthly invoice to the city. The district would also cover any overtime costs, according to the agreement. All personnel records would be maintained by the city. 

Though the agreement terms were approved by the council, Kelley said an individual has not yet been hired to serve as the SRO.