The Greene County Center for Educational Services will pay the Village to house members of the Yellow Springs Police Department who will serve as Student Resource Officers at the county’s Learning Center facilities next to the Yellow Springs High School and McKinney Middle School campuses. .
The Village Council voted 3-2 to determine the placement of officers at its meeting on Monday, September 19, just two weeks after rejecting a similar bill at its September 6 meeting.
After the Sept. 6 measures failed, village manager Josue Salmeron contacted Education Services Center (ESC) Superintendent Terry Streiter to pursue a relationship with the village police department. He said he asked if he was still interested in doing so.
In a letter to the council, Streiter said the ESC “wanted” school resource officers for several reasons, including:
• Be proactive about school safety
• Have resources readily available in the event of an active firefight situation
• Show students and staff that police officers support their role and provide resources.
Also in the letter, Streiter commented on the positive relationship between the YSPD and the ESC, stating that officers developed a “therapeutic rapport” with the students.
Police Chief Paige Burge spoke of the benefits of the program.
“Safety is our number one focus, and relationship building is our second most important focus,” Burge said.
In response to questions from the news, Burge said YSPD responded to 107 calls for service at schools last year. This number includes regular calls, 24 of which required investigation. Police found crimes committed in five of the 24 investigations. Barge said two out of five crimes were solved by a parent or counselor. Three of the five criminal offenses were referred to the court system.
Council members Gavin DeVore Leonard and Carmen Brown questioned the need for the program and told Barge more preparations for Yellow Springs police officers to address the social and emotional needs of students. I asked him to explain the reason why he arranged the
“Police officers familiar with trauma-based care seem to know that traumatized students can be triggered,” Brown said.
DeVore Leonard also said she was concerned about putting more guns in schools, given the lack of data that armed police would reduce shootings in schools.
“I think we can change the balance and reduce the risk of weaponization,” said DeVore Leonard.
Burge said she understood the concerns expressed by Brown and DeVore Leonard, but believed her officers would benefit the students.
“What makes my officers inherently superior? Nothing,” Burge said. “I take pride in the fact that we have executives who are engaging and engaging. It’s always a work in progress.”
Barge said Officer Kincade, an officer stationed at the school, was trained in trauma-informed care and often saw him actively engaging with his students.
Salmeron added that Kincade would “dress down” his uniform, but still carried a gun.
Brown said he was concerned about the trajectory the village would take if the ESC were staffed with officers.
“What if parents decide they need an SRO in elementary school? High school? Middle school?” Brown asked.
Council member Kevin Stokes said he was in favor of the agreement between the village and the ESC.
“I’m a supporter of the Yellow Springs Police Department,” Stokes said. “The best care we can give those students is to have some control over who is there. If we choose not to do this, someone else will.”
Council member Marian McQueen, who voted “no” on the Sept. 6 bill, said she was “at odds” and voiced concerns about Brown and DeVore Leonard’s police presence in schools. shared.
“If I had my own way of doing things, police officers wouldn’t have guns,” McQueen said. “But I don’t have my own way of doing this.”
She was told that some of her concerns were alleviated after a conversation with Chief Barge and that no additional positions within the police department were needed.
“I learned some things I didn’t understand,” McQueen said. “This position does not increase the number of police officers working for us.”
In addition to not increasing the number of police officers employed by the police department, the ESC will pay $4,343.09 quarterly in officers’ salaries and $1,500 annually in police vehicles during the three-year contract period between the Village and the police. to the village. ESC.
At the hearing, Matt Raska said the Village does not have to handle all the funds provided to the Village and does not agree to have the ESC staffed. Ahead of the vote, DeVore Leonard said complex issues such as policing should be discussed more thoroughly, but thanked Burge and Streiter for the additional information provided to council members.
Council chairman Brian Hausch echoed McQueen’s opinion before calling for a vote.
“If it’s not YSPD, it’s someone else,” Housh said. “I trust that Terry [Streiter] I know her students. I trust her outreach specialists in our community.I trust our chief and his work [YSPD] is doing. “
The final vote was 3 to 2, with Brown and DeVore Leonard voting “No”.
Matt Laska is the husband of Jessica Thomas.
https://ysnews.com/news/2022/10/village-council-approves-student-resource-officer-for-esc Village Council approves ESC Student Resources Officer • The Yellow Springs News