Coweta County and the Coweta County School Board have approved agreements that will place more school resource officers in local schools.
In March, the Coweta County Board of Education voted to add 14 SROs, bringing the total number to 35. The action, taken a few weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was specifically to ensure that each elementary school has a designated SRO. Depending on where a school is located, SROs are either Coweta County Sheriff’s deputies, Newnan Police officers or Grantville Police officers.
Last week, the school board voted to approve agreements with the county, Newnan, and Grantville for the additional officers.
At Tuesday’s Coweta County Board of Commissioners meeting, the commissioners approved the agreement with the school system and the sheriff’s office for the new and current SROs.
From the start of the county’s participation in SRO program in 1997, compensation for the SROs has always been split 50/50 between the county and the school system. But starting next year, that will change.
For school year 2018/2019, personnel costs will be split 50/50, with the school system responsible for 100 percent of vehicle purchase and vehicle equipment costs, and any overtime costs. Starting next year, the school system will pay 65 percent of personnel costs and 50 percent of equipment costs and continue to pay 100 percent of vehicle purchase costs and overtime costs. The school system is responsible for furnishing the officers with a secure office with office equipment including a computer, scanner and phone.
The agreement with the city of Newnan includes an identical compensation breakdown.
The school system will pay 100 percent of all costs for a Grantville officer, who will work at Glanton Elementary through Dec. 31 of this year. For the rest of the school year, the school system will pay 50 percent of personnel costs and 100 percent of vehicle and overtime costs. For the 2019-2020 school year and beyond, the school system will pay 65 percent of personnel costs and 100 percent of vehicle and vehicle equipment costs and overtime in Grantville.
The Granville agreement hasn’t yet come before their city council.
The agreement with the county is retroactive as of July 1, 2018. It will renew annually upon agreement by both parties, and there is a 90-day termination period.
As of Wednesday, five new SROs are on duty with the sheriff's office, said Capt. Stephen Crook, who supervises the county SRO program. Two more SROs are needed. The new SROs are on duty at the schools and also undergoing training, Crook said.