County considers request for funds for extra school resource officer
It is unfortunate, but nevertheless a sign of the times, that problems requiring a law enforcement presence in schools are growing, Carbon School Superintendent Steve Carlsen told the County Commission last week.
For that reason, he is asking the county to join in a three-way split with the district and Price City to double the staff of special police resource officers in county schools.
"Doubling" in this case means going to two officers instead of just one.
Robb Radley, the Price police officer now based at Mont Harmon Junior High School, is getting stretched thin because he also must deal with other district schools, including the Lighthouse.
Right now, the expenses of Radley's office round out to about $90,000, split 60-40 between the schools and Price City.
If another officer is added, and the county agrees to the cost-sharing proposal, each partner would be paying about $60,000.
The district thinks it is a good idea to add another trained, certified officer to be based at Carbon High, but, as Carlsen said, "We're a little short of funds."
"As are we," responded Commissioner Mike Milovich. "How critical is it to have a second officer?"
Carlsen replied that as a principal at North Summit, he learned that a law enforcement presence is a good prevention measure, "if you have the right officer."
Statewide, the ratio of resource officers to students is about one officer for every 1,000 to 1,200 students. In Carbon, it is one to 4,100.
About those officers:
Radley dresses in detective clothes, meaning civilian shirt and tie instead a police uniform.
As Price City Council Member Layne Miller explained, Radley is not there so much as an armed guard as he is to be "a friend and ally for kids."
"His office is a place of refuge, a place where they can go to talk," Miller continued. As a result, the councilman explained Radley has been able to recognize and deal with problems no one else has noticed.
But Radley himself said that his program is not as successful as it could or should be. "With the ratio I have now, I'm treading water. I'm reactive but not proactive."
Commissioners, who are grappling with funding priorities for next year's budget, took the recommendation under advisement.