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County Approves SRO Contract With School

Although some contract language needs to be cleared up, Roosevelt County commissioners agreed to a memorandum of understanding involving the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, Wolf Point School District and Fort Peck Tribes Health Promotion Disease Prevention on Tuesday, Feb. 28, in order to have a school resource officer at Wolf Point’s junior/senior high school.

Changes that the commissioners wanted included starting the position at the beginning of the next fiscal year, July 1, and having the position be at an hourly rate rather than salary.

Also it was noted that the employee must work at least 20 hours a week in order to qualify for benefits.

“I’m for the SRO, but there’s a few things I would like to see different,” commissioner Gordon Oelkers said. The school district had liability concerns with the position, but commissioners were instructed by the Montana Association of Counties that isn’t a problem for the county.

The changes were agreed upon by the county, sheriff’s office and school district.

Commissioner Robert Toavs noted that he feels it’s important for the school to have protection in place.

Through the agreement, the HPDP will pay the yearly salary for a full-time deputy, $83,000 a year, which includes all benefits except overtime.

Among the program’s directives are the officer is expected to keep school principals informed about law enforcement actions which occur on school property and/or which may involve a student. The officer is not considered a school teacher, security guard, a school administrator or a school counselor. The officer will conduct investigations of criminal acts that occur in the schools and involve students or staff. The officer will make arrests when necessary and provide testimony at explusion hearings. The officer will reaffirm their roles as law enforcement officers by wearing their uniforms unless if doing so would be inappropriate for scheduled school activities. The officer will assist as assigned by the district administration in overseeing the emergency management organization of the school district.

At the meeting, Roosevelt County Sheriff Jason Frederick said the agreement is a solid step in the process for the county.

“The goal is to get one in every school,” Frederick said. “We’re already talking with Brockton.”

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