Fairview Park City Schools eyes school resource officer for 2024-2025 school year | #schoolsaftey

FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — School safety is a priority of the Fairview Park City Schools’ new strategic plan.

That’s why last week the district approved an agreement with the city to hire its first school resource officer (SRO) scheduled to begin next fall.

“We’re a small community with a great relationship with the police department and relatively good response times when there’s an emergency,” said Fairview Park City Schools Superintendent Keith Ahearn, who acknowledged adding an SRO has been on his radar for a couple of years.

“A school resource officer is just another piece in the puzzle, creating a safe and secure learning environment for students.”

The superintendent noted the new strategic plan highlights climate, culture, safety and security.

More so, the addition of an SRO comes at a time when school shootings are making national headlines.

“Obviously, everybody is concerned about schools having become a target for violence,” he said.

“Having a school resource officer on the property will give parents, staff members and kids a better sense of security that if there were a threat — God forbid, on campus — it would be mitigated quickly.”

The agreement between the school district and Fairview Park includes a 50/50 split covering the SRO salary, which hasn’t been finalized but is expected to cost between $73,000 to $93,000 in the first year.

The current plan finds the SRO being located primarily at Fairview High School/Middle School.

Not only will they frequent other district buildings but even appear at private school events in the community.

In addition to security, Ahearn stressed the SRO will provide a breadth of duties for the district, including promoting drug prevention and giving mentorship to students.

“Being a police officer is a great career path for students interested in joining law enforcement,” he said. “Seeing a caring adult who could give them more information about that as a career path is beneficial.

“Also, you have some opportunities for folks to get educated on the legal system and how police officers engage in community policing.”

That’s exactly why Fairview Park Police Chief Paul Shepard is excited about the SRO addition to the community.

“A school resource officer will wear many hats,” he said. “Their purpose will be to give the children another avenue for guidance and assistance while breaking down the barriers between the police and the younger members of the public we serve.

“Our school resource officer will also provide an extra layer of security for the schools. Our goal is to work with the schools to make the school resource officer program the best it can be. We look forward to the future and the good possibilities it will bring.”

Read more news from the Sun Post Herald here.

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