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Valparaiso Community Schools looking to add fourth school resource officer

Valparaiso Communtiy Schools website

Valparaiso Community Schools will likely get a fourth school resource officer. The school board last week approved a memorandum of understanding with the Valparaiso Police Department.

Starting July 1, the number of school resource officers would increase from three to four: one at Valparaiso High School, one at each middle school and, now, one to be shared by the elementary schools.

Superintendent Dr. Jim McCall said the new elementary SRO would handle the schools’ D.A.R.E. program. "Currently, we have officers coming into the elementary schools from off the road whenever there's time or availability," McCall explained. "They've been tremendous with it, but again, it's an inconsistency — an inconsistency of face. And so this is a way to really enhance what previous practice has been."

The school corporation would also cover a bigger portion of the officers’ salaries, increasing its annual contribution to $70,000 per SRO.

City officials previously discussed moving to five school resource officers, after the school district faced a series of threats of violence earlier this year that later turned out to be false. McCall stressed that the agreement allows them to adjust officers' assignments, if needs change in the future.

"We made a commitment, as well, to come together every January to review the program and look for any adjustments that need to be made," McCall added.

The agreement now goes to the Valparaiso Board of Works for approval. It would be in effect for three years and then would automatically renew each year after that.