While Some School Districts Consider Cutting School Cops, District 742 Isn’t One of Them
ST. CLOUD - Both the Minneapolis and St. Paul public school districts are considering cutting the number of school resource officers they have in their schools. However, here in the St. Cloud Area School District they're sticking with the number they have.
St. Cloud Police Sergeant Jesse Douvier is going on his third school year supervising the program. He says the role of the officers in the schools is both for security and for educational purposes.
There's a very social aspect to it, the resource officers they get to know the kids that are in their school. But, there's also a criminal justice element to it, because there is crime that occurs in school as well.
Douvier says there are five officers from the St. Cloud police department, as well as one each from Waite Park and St. Joseph, that are assigned as school resources officers. He says officers in the school can help get kids on the right track.
Some of our goals are diverting students away from continuous involvement in our juvenile justice system.
Douvier says officers are assigned to a primary school, as well as a secondary school. There are seven total in the St. Cloud area school district. Technology and District Support Executive Director Gary Ganje says officers in schools is nothing new, it has just evolved over time.
Back in the 1990s we started with the DARE program with our 5th grade students, and we've had officers in our buildings ever since.
Minneapolis and St. Paul are proposing going from 16 SRO's each down to 14. Despite the proposed cuts in the Minneapolis and St. Paul programs, Douvier says he'd like to see the program expand here in St. Cloud.
The total cost for the program for this coming school year is just over $230,000.