Lowell Police Commission balks at school resource officer funding

2013-10-13T20:20:00Z 2013-10-13T21:14:09Z Lowell Police Commission balks at school resource officer fundingMelanie Csepiga Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
October 13, 2013 8:20 pm  • 

LOWELL  | The possibility of a partnership between the Lowell Police Department and Tri-Creek Schools on a new school resource officer position drew little support from police commissioners Thursday.

Lowell Police Chief Erik Matson said what he thought was to have been a 50-50 deal would cost the town about $10,000 more than expected.

While Lowell Police Commission President Keith Kilmer encouraged continuing with the training begun for a school resource officer, the commission rejected any greater investment.

Matson brought the matter to the commissioners after he broached the proposition from Tri-Creek Assistant Superintendent Nathan Kleefisch to the Lowell Town Council. The council asked last month that the idea be studied further.

While he had understood the town's share of such a position would be about $36,000 or half of the cost, Matson said Kleefisch recently said the school district would pay only for actual time spent in the schools.

That would hike the cost up to $46,000.

Tri-Creek is banking on a $100,000 grant, the bulk of which would be used for related equipment and about $25,000 for the officer's salary, he said.

"I thought it was generous of us then," Matson said of the Lowell Police Department offer to pay half the officer salary costs. He said other school districts pay for the position themselves.

Kilmer pointed out providing a school resource officer would require hiring another officer. It would also cost in benefits, he said.

"In good faith, we began training an officer," Matson said of costs already incurred. It was suggested the training be completed.

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