Grant would put police in Harrodsburg schools

April 28, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - The city school system and the Harrodsburg City Commission hope to work together to keep a police officer in Harrodsburg Middle and High schools.

It's not a security issue, nor is it because of discipline problems in the two schools. It is a program funded by a grant that the Commission agreed to support at its regular meeting Tuesday.

John Barrington, a school system employee with grant writing experience, appeared before the Board of Commissioners to request support for the application for a $175,000 grant to fund the program for three years.

Police Chief Ernie Kelty lent his support to the program in which a sworn police officer spends 75 percent of his time in the schools and 25 percent as a city police officer. Kelty said the School Resource Officer program has been successful in other communities.


"It's a great program and I appreciate your support,'' Kelty told the commissioners, who voted to participate in the program.

Kelty said the person filling the SRO job will be hired and trained in the same manner as all other officers, will spend 16 weeks at the police academy in Richmond and will be field trained by Harrodsburg Police Department officers.

Hiring an officer will take at least three months, Kelty said, and that is before training begins.

""They'll work for us,'' Kelty said. During the school year, the officer is likely to spend the majority of the work day with the schools and when school is out, the officer will serve as a city police officer. Kelty said the schedule will be flexible so that if the officer is on hand at school events at night, the time spent there will be taken out of the regular work day to prevent overtime from being accrued.

The $175,000 grant, if it is awarded to the city, will cover the officer's salary for three years. The program calls for the school system to pay 75 percent of the officer's salary for the fourth year and the city will pick up the remaining 25 percent of the officer's pay. Barrington said Superintendent H.M. Snodgrass said he thought the school board would pay 75 percent of the officer's salary in the fourth year.

""My concern is what happens after the fourth year,'' Commissioner Eddie Long said. "Any time a grant runs out, the city picks up the cost.'' While no one could predict what will happen after the program runs its four-year course, Kelty said the program has been so popular that parents have supported its continuance.

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