School Resource Officers being added to more Callaway County schools

FILE: Callaway County Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann

The Callaway County Sheriff's Office is planning to add Student Resource Officers (SRO) to North School and Callaway Hills, beginning January 2024.

SRO assist in providing safety for the students and staff, and are provided by the school and the sheriff's department.

Gary Jungermann, the Presiding Commissioner of Callaway County, explained the reasoning behind having SRO at schools in the county.

"We wanted to provide a form of protection, along with having an opportunity for the students to build relationships with law enforcement, show officers are meant to protect the students" Jungermann said.

He explained that relationships built between students and the officers help with showing how to interact with law enforcement properly, along with giving protection for the school in case of emergencies.

"SRO are considered part of staff, with helping in safe arrival and dismissal of the students, along with helping educate students," said Jungermann

SRO educate in mental health awareness training, job fairs, internet security training, counseling students, along with monitoring and planning for extracurricular activities, such as football or basketball games.

"We have been able to provide numerous SRO in partnership with school districts to specific schools, with a hope that we will be able to provide more if SRO are wanted," Jungermann said.

He explained the county has made a focus on providing SRO when the opportunity arises, since they are seen as essential, with the schools who continue to have one having positive feedback.

"The school is paying 65 percent of the officer's salary and benefits, with the county providing the other 35 percent," Jungermann

The officer's equipment, vehicle, and training are all paid for by the county, which is not included in the 35 percent the county pays.

The Callaway County Sheriff's Department plans to continue to partner with school districts to provide SRO in the future.

SRO are currently provided to the New Bloomfield, North Callaway and South Callaway school districts. The SRO contracts for the 2023-24 school year were renewed in March.