Douglas County votes to continue SRO contract

The agreement allows for 20 school resource officers

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Douglas County commissioners have voted to continue their cost-sharing contract that provides school resource officers to the county’s public schools.

The 2020-21 contract will allow for one sergeant, one corporal, 20 SROs and one Youth Education and Safety in Schools, or YESS, officer, throughout the district.

Lt. Robert Rotherham, of the sheriff’s office, presented the proposal to commissioners. Rotherham said the county has been providing SROs in schools since at least 2003.

SROs have become a topic of interest in the Denver metro area this year as Denver Public Schools decided to remove the service. Commissioner Roger Partridge said during the Oct. 13 meeting that from what he's heard, Douglas County residents are grateful the county hasn't followed suit. He said he hasn't heard any complaints.

“What I do hear is ‘thank you so much for giving security to the families and the school children.’ It’s a really heartfelt thanks to them," he said.

In Douglas County, focus on school safety became enhanced in 2019 after a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch left one student dead and eight others injured. 

“In light of all we have going on this year, we reflect a lot upon the endeavors of last year with regards to school security,” Commissioner Abe Laydon said in the meeting. “Having the opportunity to tour Douglas County schools … It was an incredible honor for me to see the impact they have.”

Rotherham mentioned that he was a responding deputy to the STEM School shooting.

“I want to say thank you for the collaboration and support of the board in many ways in helping with our response and the aftermath,” Rotherham said.

After the shooting, the board allocated $10 million to school safety. 

“I know we and the citizens really appreciate all the efforts the sheriff’s office puts into protecting any child (and) any school-aged children in Douglas County,” Partridge said.

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