City approves contract for school resource officer

A school resource officer’s time at three schools within the city limits will be reduced by 40 percent because the South Kitsap School District reduced funding for the position by 50 percent.

Despite SKSD cutting funding for the position, the Port Orchard City Council approved a contract with the school district for the school resource officer.

SKSD budgeted $34,529 for the school resource officer in 2013-14, according to the contract.

Chief Geoffrey Marti said the school resource officer’s time — compared to the last school year — will be reduced from five to three days per week.

He said without the contract, police would still be required to respond to calls at the schools, but would not receive any kind of funding from the school district.

“The police department would still have to respond to calls at the schools within our jurisdiction, whether or not we have a school resource officer,” Marti said.

He said the school resource officer helps relieve the shift officer of calls at the school, which allows them to respond to other police calls.

“This also allows us to have better relationships with students, parents, and facility, that would not be possible without the position,” Marti said.

Councilwoman Carolyn Powers asked Marti what types of situations the school resource officer handles.

“The school resource officer is one of the busiest officers on the police force,” Marti replied. “They take a variety of calls such as disturbances or students coming to school with drugs or alcohol in their system.”

He said the school resource officer works in conjunction with SKSD.

“While they are enforcing the laws, at times their is some room to allow the school district to handle the disciplinary issues, as opposed for going through the court system,” Marti said.

The biggest benefit, according to Marti, is that the school resource officer is connected to the school district.

“They work very well together,” he added.

Without a school resource officer, Marti said he would have to send officers to the school district on a continual basis.

The school resource officer is stationed at South Kitsap High School most of the time, but also spends time at Sidney Glen Elementary and Cedar Heights Junior High — both off Sidney Road.

The SKSD school board scheduled to discuss and vote on the item at its Aug. 21 meeting.

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