Funding a concern for School Resource Officers
MARION, IL —
School shootings such as Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook have many people concerned that their children aren’t safe once they drop them off at school. Generous donations are helping to make sure that students in one local state are all in a safe educational environment.
As a school resource officer, Dep. Kip Heinle goes above and beyond to protect and serve the kids he works with on a daily basis.
“Kids can see us as something positive in their life,” Dep. Kip Heinle. “Instead of somebody that is just coming into their house to take mom or dad to jail.”
After schools in Franklin County, Illinois were forced to close due to a bomb threat, Regional Superintendent of Schools Matt Donkin says school resource officers were on the front line in assuring that his kids head back to a safe school zone.
“We were able to pull a lot of groups together who already have a working relationship with each other to make this happen,” said Matt Donkin. “If you have officers in the building they also know what they’re looking for, what looks out of place, what doesn’t.”
Due to budget cuts, there are only about 400 school resource officers in Illinois.
While the $1,500 in donations won’t be enough to hire more officers, it will buy relationships in their community.
“One of the big things is trust,” said Dep. Heinle. “There are students I’ve had in the last 9 years that have contacted me and had information about something going on or information about various crimes and they trust me enough to tell me this is what happened and you need to be looking for this person.”
One school resource officer can cost up to $60,000 a year.
Many SRO’s serve a dual purpose in school by teaching classes to try and save the district money.