Today's Paper News Sports Obits Events Classifieds Digital FAQ Newsletters

Callaway County renews school resource officer contracts

by Anakin Bush | March 25, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

The Callaway County Sheriff's Office, the Callaway County Commission and local school districts will continue a partnership to have school resource officers (SROs) at three school districts.

Clay Chism, Callaway County Sheriff, and Gary Jungermann, Callaway County Presiding Commissioner, announced the approval of the SRO contracts for the New Bloomfield, North Callaway and South Callaway school districts for the 2023-2024 school year.

This is the sixth school year the SRO program has been offered.

Each district will continue to have the same SRO they currently have.

"Going into next year, one of the things I'm most happy to announce is all three of the SROs are retaining their positions, so that's good for continuity and consistency," Chism said.

The SROs at New Bloomfield and South Callaway will be going into their sixth year at their respective district. The SRO at North Callaway will be going into his second year there.

Jungermann said they try to keep them the same so students can build a relationship with them.

"I think parents feel a sense of security to some degree knowing that someone's there, and they know too that it's more than just a security officer, those guys... are playing roles in those communities," Jungermann said.

According to the SRO agreement, each school district will reimburse the county for 65 percent "of the base salary and associated benefits of the assigned deputy sheriff."

The 65 percent reimbursement will be a maximum of $44,776.36. This will be payable in nine monthly installments from Sept. to May.

"The schools believe that's fair, we believe that's fair, and from what I've heard from the community, they believe that's a fair split as well," Chism said.

In the agreement, Callaway County will completely cover the cost of "any accrued vacation/sick/overtime/compensatory time, a visibly marked deputy sheriff patrol vehicle, vehicle and deputy sheriff equipment, POST-mandated training, School Resource Officer specific training, DARE training, uniforms, and any other cost related to the standard employment of a deputy sheriff."

The SROs will exclusively be at their respective school districts for nine months of the school year. For the other three months, they will return to normal patrol duties at the CCSO.

Chism said the Fulton Public Schools district does not have an SRO with the CCSO because they are inside Fulton city limits.

The Fulton Police Department would have to enter into an agreement for an SRO with FPS.

"The school resource officers we have in the county have been huge assets and very beneficial to the learning environment of the students..." Chism said.

While the SROs are there for school safety and security, Jungermann said the students also grow very close to them.

"I think they get a different understanding for what we do. It's not our job to try to get you in trouble. Our job is to try to keep you from getting into trouble, and that's what they do very well I think," Jungermann said.

He added that the SROs are well respected by a majority of students and school administration.

Jungermann said he thinks the students view a SRO as "more of a friend, than somebody to worry about."

Both Jungermann and Chism said the role of an SRO is much more proactive than reactive.

"Hopefully, by these kids growing up with these school resource officers, they get a whole new understanding and respect for the Callaway County Sheriff's Department," Jungermann said.

Print Headline: Callaway County renews school resource officer contracts


Sponsor Content