MOKANE, Mo. -- Soon, South Callaway R-2 will become the first district in Callaway County with a school resource officer.
Callaway County Commissioners voted Monday to authorize a contract between the district and county that will place a full-time SRO at the school, beginning the first week of August.
County Sheriff Clay Chism said this plan has been in the works since Jan. 5, 2017, and was not a direct response to the shooting that occurred last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
"This was not a knee-jerk reaction to Florida," he added.
Under the contract's terms, the district will cover 65 percent of the deputy's salary and benefits, with the county paying for the remainder. Chism said the salary and benefits could total up to $51,435.13, but likely will cost less: that figure is based on the maximum salary for a Callaway County deputy, $38,000.
"The county inherits the cost of training, the vehicle and equipment," Chism said. "If you look at it in real life, it's closer to a 50/50 split."
The same cost ratio will be offered to any other districts that show interest in an SRO. Chism said another has already contacted him.
South Callaway's school board and superintendent already have agreed to the contract's terms, Chism said.
The contract will last one year, after which it may be renewed. During summer months, the deputy will work at the sheriff's office.
Commissioners expressed support for placing an SRO at South Callaway.
"It's a win-win in the end for everybody," Eastern District Commissioner Randy Kleindienst said.
While the SRO will provide security for the district, Chism said, that won't be his or her only job.
"They're not just going to be an officer in the school with a uniform, badge and gun," he said.
He intends for the deputy to integrate into the school and provide assistance to teachers, give presentations, participate in interventions for troubled children and more.
Applications for the position have been open within the Callaway County Sheriff's Office, and interviews will begin next month, Chism said. South Callaway district officials will have significant input on the final choice.
South Callaway Superintendent Kevin Hillman was traveling Monday and unavailable for comment.