The city and Northwood Local Schools are exploring the possibility of sharing the cost of assigning a police officer to the schools as a full-time resource officer.
Council discussed the matter with Superintendent Greg Clark at its committee of the whole meeting last week. Participants agreed that a school resource officer would be a good idea. The sticking point was how the city would pay its share of the service.
Police Chief Tom Cairl said the officer would cost about $85,000 per year. He was hopeful a state Drug Awareness and Resistance Education grant could be obtained that would defray $11,800 of the cost. That would leave the remainder to be divided between the city and school district.
The city, however, does not have the necessary $36,500 in its budget. Finance Director Ken Yant said Northwood had $256,000 in its red-light camera fund, but said much of that money was committed for other expenses.
If the available red-light funds were to be used for the resource officer, that could cover the city's share of the school resource officer for three years, Mr. Yant said.
Mr. Clark said he had talked to the Northwood Board of Education about whether the school district could pay the entire cost of the officer.
“The safety of our students obviously is our highest priority,” he told council.
Mayor Mark Stoner asked how the superintendent felt about arming teachers.
The superintendent said he didn't rule it out, but believed most educators had no interest in carrying weapons. He added that he did believe the presence of an officer would be a strong deterrent to potential threats at the schools.