FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Feb. 14, 2019
BROOKINGS, Ore. — Earlier this week, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was approved between the City of Brookings and Brookings-Harbor School District to create a School Resource Officer position.
This cooperative agreement will place a sworn Brookings Police Department Officer in the school environment and at school events throughout the year. Such programs are common across Oregon and the U.S., and Brookings-Harbor School District previously hosted an officer from the mid-1990s until about 2005, when the school was no longer able to pay its portion of the shared budget for this safety resource. To maintain the new agreement, the city and school district agree to each pay approximately $55,000 annually to cover the salary, training and any special equipment needs of the officer. The MOU was approved by the City Council of Brookings at its Monday, Feb. 11, meeting and by the School Board of Directors of Brookings-Harbor School District at its Wednesday, Feb. 13 meeting, and is effective March 1, 2019. The five-year agreement was signed by City Manager Janell Howard and Superintendent Sean Gallagher.
The Brookings Police Department and the Brookings-Harbor School District plan to implement strategies and practices that lead to a respectful, inclusive and safe environment for all students, staff, community, and police. Ideally, a School Resource Officer performs three primary and equally-important duties: Serves as a public safety officer, as a mentor/informal counselor, and as a guest lecturer/informal educator. SROs are police officers employed by the City of Brookings, who have undergone and are continually trained in restorative justice and trauma-informed practices.
“An SRO can be a deterrent to criminals entering our schools as well as criminal behavior by those on campus,” said Kelby McCrae, Brookings Director of Public Safety. “They are a liaison who builds a relationship with the students, parents, and staff; and someone the students can learn to turn to with questions.”
Brookings-Harbor School District recognizes the importance of building positive relationships between police officers and the youth they serve, and the SRO may participate in the following:
- Establish and maintain a sense of security and order by being a visible presence on campus;
- Attend staff meetings;
- Provide classroom instruction as an informal instructor or guest teacher;
- Attend student functions such as talent shows, assemblies, and field trips;
- Provide public safety services for after-hours events such as athletics competitions, dances, and other school activities, and more.
“The goal is to phase in a full-time officer by Fall 2019, after an officer is selected this spring, undergoes training and starts working part-time in the schools,” Superintendent Sean Gallagher said. “The main role of an effective SRO can be summarized as prevention, but they are also available to reach out to in any safety situations that may occur. In addition, law enforcement is an excellent career pathway for students to consider, and the physical presence of an SRO will most likely provide opportunities for students to explore this path.”