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Published: Monday, 9/10/2012

Funds end Dec. 5 for Bedford deputy


With a grass-roots fund-raising effort to keep a resource officer at Bedford Public Schools appearing to come short of its goal, the district sent formal notice Friday to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office that funding for the position will expire Dec. 5.

Regina Whalen, a co-founder of Bedford Students Protected through Combining Area Resources for Educational Safety, said Friday the campaign had raised about $33,150 since organizing in February.

That's nearly $7,000 short of the $40,000 the group hoped to raise by Oct. 1, with a year-long goal of $80,000, to save one of two deputies the school board has paid for to work in district schools.

The board decided Feb. 2 to cut one of the jobs for budget reasons.

"That notice can be rescinded upon us reaching our goal," Ms. Whalen said.

But without support from Bedford families or reconsideration by the school board, the campaign is at risk of failing, she said.

"Business leaders and many individuals have stepped forward to raise money through our June golf outing and the reverse raffle and auction we had a few weeks ago," Ms. Whalen said.

"But we can't keep organizing these major events and expect to have the same level of support from local businesses. We simply need more grass-roots support from the families whose children benefit from these officers."

Sheriff's deputies working as resource officers regularly visit all Bedford public schools and lead drug and alcohol education, anti-bullying, cyber safety, and similar programs throughout the district.

Ms. Whalen said BSP-CARES leaders have applied for foundation and grant funding, but responses to such applications take more time than is available to keep the second resource officer position funded.

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