Chief: ‘Serious things going on in our schools’
by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
The Rogers Police Department has received a $125,000 federal grant to hire a second School Resource Officer, or SRO, to work in Rogers schools. The Rogers City Council had previously approved hiring the new officer in 2016. The grant money will help bring the officer on board by next spring, instead.
In addition to the grant, the Elk River School District has pledged $25,000 towards the cost of the new SRO.
During the next three years, the City of Rogers will need to contribute up to $24,733 for the SRO. The amount is the most that could be needed if the officer works the maximum amount of overtime and chooses the most expensive insurance option. Rogers Police Chief Jeff Beahen told the Council that it was very likely that the City’s portion would be less.
Beahen told the Council that the need for the new SRO is crucial and the opportunity to have the position be paid for mostly by outside sources for the next three years was too good to pass up. The current SRO is responsible for 4085 students in Rogers and spends a good deal of his day driving back and forth between schools that are facing more problems than ever before.
“Serious things are going on in our schools,” Beahen cautioned.
He said that recently his officers have stopped two major drug rings at Rogers High School. They have investigated three sexual assaults involving students at Rogers schools. And they’re facing an emerging problem of students smoking liquid heroin in e-cigarettes.
“Our goal is not to be reactive, but proactive, and try and prevent these things,” Beahen said.
The Council agreed to accept the grant and hire a new SRO. However, they instructed Beahen to wait until the spring to do the hiring in order to mitigate the costs.
In other matters, the former Reynolds Food Packaging building on Industrial Boulevard received approval to demolish part of their building in order to separate the building and the land into two separate parcels, one with 7.85 acres and one with 2.95 acres.
They believe the two parcels will be easier to sell. They currently have interested buyers for the separated buildings.