Danville considers additional school resource officer

Danville considers additional school resource officer

DANVILLE — The Danville school district may have another school resource officer on the roster later this year.

Board members on Wednesday will vote on whether to partner with the city of Danville to add a fourth officer.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville. A copy of the agenda is available online.

Superintendent Mark Denman is recommending that the new staffer split his or her time at the high school and Kenneth D. Bailey Academy, as well as present some type of lesson or presentation at an elementary school, focusing mostly on fifth-graders, twice a week. He's also recommending that the two officers at the middle schools provide a lesson or presentation at an elementary once a week, in addition to their duties.

"I think this would help ensure school safety and an optimum learning environment," Denman said.

The Danville city council would also have to sign off on the addition. Under a joint agreement, the district pays for the school resource officers' salaries and benefits during the nine-month school year, and the city covers those costs the other three months.

Denman has said the district currently pays $190,000 a year for its three current officers.

The district first placed a school resource officer at the high school in 2003. It added one at North Ridge Middle School and another at South View Middle School in 2011.

The officers, who are liaisons between the police and school officials, monitor school grounds, assist with safety and security decisions, meet regularly with staff to identify individuals and conditions of concern. They also investigate cases originating in their schools and involving students going to and from school.

Danville Public Safety Director Larry Thomason, who proposed adding a fourth officer, said their main function is to interact with young people, talk to students and get to know them and build personal relationships with them while teaching them respect, trust and other values.

While they didn't have specific numbers, Thomason and school officials said the three officers have helped reduce the number of expulsions and disturbances at the high school and middle schools.

Also at the meeting, board members may vote on whether to approve salaries for administrators and non-union flat-salaried employees for the 2014-15 school year.

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