CPS responds to potential removal of school resource officers

1 month 1 week 3 days ago Friday, June 26 2020 Jun 26, 2020 Friday, June 26, 2020 9:25:00 PM CDT June 26, 2020 in News
By: Destinee Patterson, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA – Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark told KOMU 8 on Friday that the district only found out about the potential removal of school resource officers "a few days ago."

In a statement, City Manager John Glascock announced he will “recommend to the council that the city not renew the contract with Columbia Public Schools to provide four School Resource Officers.”

He said the recommendation comes after “several months of discussion and study” considering the “conditions posed by the health emergency.” If approved, the officers would be moved over to the Community Outreach Unit.

In the original KOMU 8 web story, "The current [SRO] contract expires June 30."

Harry D commented on the web story, "Ending the School Resource Officer program is a BIG mistake."

Right now, the city has four SROs placed across three high schools and two middle schools in the school district, according to CPS.

Baumstark said the district did not know about the recommendation until recently.

“The district has not yet had an opportunity to discuss what this will mean for our schools with regard to safety and security as we were only made aware a few days ago,” she said in an email.

Amy Belcher said in a comment on KOMU 8's Facebook post, "Middle and high school are dangerous places for a lot of kids. Having an officer there that is a TRUSTED adult is far too beneficial." 

Baumstark said the district reached out to the police department on June 10 about renewing its contract.

“The school district and the police department have had a long-standing partnership for decades,” she wrote. “They have played an important role in the lives of many students, including standing in for parent who couldn’t attend events or athletics.”

Baumstark said the district spends about $200,000 on SROs for salaries and benefits.

Glascock will present his budget to city council on July 24. The council will make the final decision in September.

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