Roeland Park is considering a partnership with Bishop Miege Schools that would place a uniformed, on-duty Roeland Park police officer at schools on a full-time basis.
Councilmembers Monday unanimously showed their support for the concept of placing a School Resource Officer at the schools. City staff will craft a tentative contract and bring the item back to the council at a future meeting for further discussion.
Bishop Miege High School and St. Agnes Catholic School recently approached Roeland Park mayor Mike Kelly to gauge interest in the safety coordination effort.
“The headlines across our city and country demand that stakeholders like us continue to have courageous conversations about keeping people safe,” Bishop Miege High School president Randy Salisbury said in his email to Kelly.
Kelly said he thought it made sense for Roeland Park to support the safety of students and faculty.
“Given today’s climate of school safety there has been a concern that Bishop Miege could use some additional security…,” Kelly said.
Tentative plans outlined in a city staff report show Bishop Miege covering the cost of the full-time School Resource Officer, approximately $72,000 with salary and benefits.
Roeland Park Police Department chief John Morris said RPPD already had a police officer on the force with more than 20 years of experience working as a School Resource Officer. That officer indicated an interest in working with Bishop Miege Schools if an agreement was reached.
The RPPD would then need to hire a new officer to replace the officer who transferred into the SRO role.
Morris said the School Resource Officer would serve as a “full-fledged” officer and would have the same authority as RPPD officers patrolling the city.
Councilmember Becky Fast said she was excited about the opportunity, calling it “proactive.”
“Research has shown community policing in schools has reduced crime,” Fast said.