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Gering city council approves school officer
June 12, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Members of the Gering City Council unanimously approved assigning of the city’s police officers to the Gering Public Schools as a School Resources Officer (SRO).

The agreement, also approved last month by the Gering School Board, will assign a full time police officer to the schools during the school year. The officer will assist and students and staff with issues of law violations.

“The officer will work about 40 hours a week during the school year,” Kraig Weyrich, principal at the Gering Freshman Academy explained to the council. “It will be a flex time position, as the officer might work during football games, graduation and similar events.”

He added there are some law violations in the schools now, and an on-site officer would give them more immediate response time. “We also want to build mutual trust and respect with students and staff. One of our goals is to incorporate the SRO into the elementary schools to make presentations and start building trust with the young kids.”

Weyrich said the SRO should provide another positive role model for students as well as increasing the perception of safety in the schools. For the city, the SRO can help cut down on time that officers are called to the schools to deal with violations.

Wages and benefits for the SRO would be shared equally between the city and the schools. The officer’s estimated salary is between $37,000 and $45,000 for each entity. And each entity would be responsible for SRO overtime costs at their own functions. The school will also provide office space and a computer for the officer.

Gering Police Chief George Holthus said the new SRO will be someone already on staff and the person will receive additional training this summer on working in school settings. The city will then add another officer for full-time work with the police department.

Staff for the city and the schools will now refine and sign an interlocal agreement to implement the SRO into the schools. The position will start on Oct. 1.
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