WEST LIBERTY – The West Liberty-Salem Local Schools board is considering having a sheriff’s deputy serve as school resource officer.
The potential hire stems from the shooting the district experienced in January. Since that shooting, the school board and district have been seeing how their emergency response plans can be improved. New locks on doors and new windows for easier exit are being installed or will be installed in the coming months, Superintendent Kraig Hissong said.
The district is looking at costs for and benefits of a school resource officer, board member Stephen Lapp said.
Graham Local Schools and Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools in Champaign County have resource officers. Board Vice President Chuck Buck said other schools in Logan County are considering hiring school resource officers following the shooting at West Liberty-Salem.
He said Shelby and Clark counties’ sheriff’s offices have resource officer programs and could be a good source of information.
The officer would be hired by the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and would be in the school district for its school year, Hissong said. The rest of the time the officer would work for the sheriff’s office.
Hissong said Champaign County Sheriff Matt Melvin gave him preliminary estimated costs for the deputy. The estimated cost to the district would be $46,000 to $58,000 annually for a full-time deputy, depending on whether the officer is entry level or top-step in the pay scale. That estimated cost includes insurance costs for a family and Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) and Medicare costs.
Board member Patrick Adams said he would like to see data on how effective a deterrent a resource officer has been for other districts related to school shootings.
The school board plans to continue to discuss the possibility of bringing in a school resource officer at a future meeting.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.