LINCOLN (AP) — A Lincoln city councilman wants police officers assigned to public middle schools in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting that left 20 students and six educators dead.
Councilman Gene Carroll and Mayor Chris Beutler, in a letter to Lincoln school board President Ed Zimmer, said the city wants to continue discussions about school safety and how the city can help.
“We believe the issue is a joint responsibility of the City of Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools,” the city officials wrote.
School resource officers already are assigned to each public high school. Carroll wants the city and school district to consider adding them to middle schools. He said funding the effort would be part of a future discussion, but police finances are already stretched thin.
Public Safety Director Tom Casady said he would push for the hiring of new officers — not just reassigning staff — if the city and district were to expand the resource officer program.
A midcareer police officer costs about $77,000 a year, which includes salary, benefits, equipment, patrol car and fuel.
The district pays part of the cost for school resource officers: $159,267 last year, and $165,380 is budgeted for this school year.
The program has grown and contracted over the years.
Five officers shared duties at 35 elementary schools until the assignments ended in 2004. In 2010, four officers assigned to what then were 10 district middle schools were pulled out.
Zimmer said he thinks the school board would welcome a security discussion with the city.
“As far as specifics, the resource officers are a good thing,” Zimmer said. “We'd like to discuss more (school resource officers) by way of what can the city offer.”
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