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My Town: More districts to add school resource officers this fall | Crime

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My Town: More districts to add school resource officers this fall
My Town: More districts to add school resource officers this fall

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Four additional officers from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department will be patrolling the hallways and grounds of West Michigan schools next fall.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners last week approved contracts in which the Kent County Sheriff Department will provide a school resource officer to Byron Center Public Schools, Kent City Community Schools and Kenowa Hills Public Schools.  Lowell Area Schools is working with a community partner to fund a school resource officer and hopes to commit to a contract in the coming weeks.

The SROs will improve school safety by investigating school related incidences and taking a proactive approach to deter violence and crime on campus.

“Sadly, we’ve seen many tragedies occur in schools across the nation over the past 15 years,” says Sheriff Larry Stelma. “We’ve also seen countless incidents where officers working inside schools have prevented attacks or crimes on campus. SROs can provide early intervention, security, and long-term solutions for existing safety concerns.”

Northview and Forest Hills Public School districts are already long-standing participants in the sheriff department’s SRO program.  Several other districts are also interested in joining the program.

Each school district will pay 70 percent of costs of employing the officer; the sheriff’s department’s general fund will cover the remaining 30 percent. Many districts are collaborating with the municipalities they’re located in to pay for the program.  All other expenses will come out of Kent County’s general fund.