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The Parker and Castle Rock police departments are considering adding more school resource officers to some local schools but have yet to make a decision.
Presently, the Parker department provides two SROs — one who covers Legend High School and Cimarron Middle School, and the other at Sierra Middle School. Members of the public have asked the police department to provide numerous additional SROs, including at some elementary schools, said Josh Hans, the police department’s communications director. Some have asked for Legend High, which has an enrollment of nearly 2,200 students, to have two SROs.
“The desire seems to outweigh the means to do so… It would wipe out our patrol staff to meet this new demand and it would be a very large financial commitment to put more school resource officers in schools,” Hans said. “We’re in discussion with the school district as far as funding with that. It is being discussed for the future, but we can’t say any have or haven’t been approved at this point.”
A spokesman said the Castle Rock Police Department provides two full-time SROs to schools in town. One is assigned to Castle View High School and the other splits time between Mesa Middle School and Castle Rock Middle School. The spokesman said Castle Rock’s department is in the early stages of considering more SROs and will know more about those plans this summer.
Adding SROs would cost a police department more than just the roughly $60,000 it takes to fund half an officer’s salary and benefits — the school district funds the other half — according to Hans. With more SROs in place, the Parker department would need, for example, more sergeants, supervisors and dispatchers.
“The STEM shooting here really seems to have jump-started the conversation on security in schools,” Hans said. “A large portion of one of the tax increases (last November) went to school safety, and they have a considerable amount of money put away in school safety. But because of STEM there’s been a huge surge like we’ve never seen before.”
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