Rockland to vote on grant for school officer

By Stephen Betts | May 07, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts From left, Oceanside High School Assistant Principal Jesse Bartke, Rockland Police Chief Bruce Boucher, Knox County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Tim Carroll and Rockland Deputy Police Chief Christopher Young meet March 1 with the Regional School Unit 13 Board about the possibility of having police officers in the schools. The board voted April 5 to move ahead with the proposal.

Rockland — The Rockland City Council will consider next week whether to give the city manager the go-ahead to apply for a federal grant to pay for a police officer in the schools.

The item to authorize the manager to apply to the U.S. Department of Justice for $125,000 to help pay for a school resource officer will be on the council's May 14 agenda.

This move comes after the Regional School Unit 13 Board voted 6-2 April 5 to authorize the superintendent to "engage in a partnership" with the Rockland Police Department for a school resource officer to serve the two schools in the city, Oceanside High School and the South School.

Superintendent John McDonald said at that meeting that he would also continue discussions with the Knox County Sheriff's Office with the goal of getting officers into the other schools in the district.

McDonald said the April 5 vote was the first step in the process. He said the City Council would then need to apply for the grant to pay the bulk of the cost of the officer for three years.

The district will also have to adopt a policy on the school resource officer position, create a job description and reach a written agreement with the city.

McDonald said April 5 that he could not guarantee that an officer would be in the schools for the start of the next school year.

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