School takes next step for police officer
Plainwell school board members voted unanimously to appropriate $75,000 toward a school resource officer for the 2018-19 year.
Superintendent Matt Montange said, “This allows me to go ahead with the process and if I find that I have to change something significant, I’d come back to the board.”
Board members will also have to vote again to hire whoever is chosen for the new position.
Montange has been working with the City of Plainwell with the idea of sharing the cost of a police officer in the schools. Plainwell hasn’t had one for years, but interest was rekindled in meetings about school safety held early this year following high-profile school shootings in other states.
The officer is intended to work with students and staff on all sorts of preventative programs and be a presence in the district, not merely providing security.
Board member Kim Shafer asked if Montange had a backup plan to working with the city of Plainwell.
Montange said that school districts had the legal authority to employ police officers themselves and working with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office would also be possible, but he didn’t expect any of that to be necessary.
“All the indications I’ve had with the city are that they are on board with this fully,” he said.
Shafer said she also thought the best option was to partner with the city.
The first idea floated was for the city to provide the car, training and equipment for the officer, while the school district provided most of the salary and looked for another jurisdiction to sign on and cover the rest.
Gun Plain Township board members declined to join in right away after discussing the idea for the first time during their June meeting.
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