DD2 studying funding options for more school resource officers

posted by Bill Burr, WCIV - 

VIDEO

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — Not enough school resource officers for students and teachers. That's the feeling of officials with Dorchester District 2. On Monday night, they'll take steps to research what can be done to hire more of them.

Nearly 26-thousand students attend classes in DD2. There are 25 school resource officers on duty to protect them. That's why many school leaders want to form a task force to explore what it'll take to hire extra officers.

"We want to have folks that have some kind of interaction with children and with schools that would bring meaningful information to us," said Tanya Robinson, chair of the Dorchester District 2 Board of Trustees.

She explained how the school district pays for the SROs. And because those officers are employed by local law enforcement agencies, they can be used to cover calls off campus.

"We don't always have them there all day long," she said.

That's why DD2 officials want to change that by bringing on more officers. The goal is have one officer stationed in each of the district's 26 schools all day. Dorchester County council approves the district's budget. Councilman Con Chellis explains why a legal dispute prevents the county from covering the cost of school resource officers.

"If they elect to do something with SROs in all the schools, we're restricted right now through litigation on how we can handle that program. But certainly if there's anything county council can do to support them, we certainly will," Chellis said.

That's why school leaders like Tanya Robinson are hoping a new task force will discover new methods to pay for the manpower.

"It’s priceless to have safety in your schools," she said.

School board members hope to find 12 people for the task force. Their job will be to find ways to pay for new SROs. Tanya Robinson said they cost $60,000 per person. But new hires cost an additional $43,000 per person because of equipment and training expenses.

North Charleston Police Department, Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, and Summerville Police Department lend officers to DD2. But North Charleston pays for the salaries of their officers. Dorchester District 2 covers the cost of manpower from the sheriff's office and Summerville. 

A meeting took place Monday night at the Adult Education Center on Boone Hill Road.

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