No SRO In Mandan | VideoRetha Colclasure | 10/14/2012
The halls at Mandan High School are filled with students, but one person is missing: a school resource officer.
"We have not had an SRO since last spring," said principal Mark Andresen.
And that`s having a big impact at the school.
"It keeps our jobs a lot busier. Anytime you have additional resources, have additional support, you cut down on the time you have to spend in specific areas. They have ties directly with the kids, they understand the facility and understand dealing with kid issues a little bit more than a traditional traffic officer," Andresen said.
But SROs are first and foremost police officers and Mandan has a shortage of those right now.
"Since May of this year we`ve lost four officers. With the volume of calls our patrol division is receiving, we just can`t part with anybody from patrol right now," Deputy Chief Paul Leingang said.
They`ve hired three new officers, but those officers won`t be up and running until spring. So in the meantime, the schools and the police decided to cost-share a position. The final details about how much money the school will contribute towards the position haven`t been worked out just yet. But school officials say they expect it to be about 75 percent.
"School is in session 9-10 months, it`s about 75 percent of the officer`s time is designated to the school year, I believe that`s what they would equate it to," Andresen said.
But even cost-sharing the position isn`t a perfect solution.
"It does add one staff we can assign to that position. The problem is with turnover we never get to that stable point with officers," Leingang said.
The funding for the new position starts January 1. It will be filled by a current patrol officer until the new recruits are on the streets.
The average salary for a police officer in Mandan is about $36,000 a year.