It’s still early in the works, but the idea of “cop sharing” is an intriguing one that’s worth exploration.
The collaborative security approach being considered by the City of Findlay and city school district was born out of the need to make sure that the city’s public schools are as safe as possible.
School security, after all, is in everyone’s best interests, whether you have a school-age child, grandchild, or you’re not even a parent.
The last thing any community would want is to become the next national tragedy and then begin to have a conversation about what could have or should have been done to prevent it.
We should all agree students need to have a secure place to learn.
Superintendent Ed Kurt and the school board began laying the groundwork in the spring for a districtwide plan that would update security systems in district buildings and buses, add in-school mental health clinicians, and hire six to 10 resource officers for district school buildings.
It’s an ambitious proposal, considering the school has an operating deficit, but one that is getting the attention it deserves.
Questions yet to be answered include whether new officers would be in school throughout the school day, or in and out; how those officers would be used by the city when school is out of session, on holidays and in the summer; and, of course, how much the city may be willing to chip in.
School resource officers have long been used by the county schools. Deputies assigned such duties keep a high profile at the schools and villages they serve. They may be assigned two or three other schools as well, so they keep moving throughout the school day.
City schools now have just one resource officer, and adding more could work much the same way as in the county. With 11 buildings in the district, officers may have to split duties as well.
Currently, the district’s main security staff is based at Findlay High School, but officers respond to other schools as needed. Additional manpower would provide more police presence at other schools.
The district is already spending $200,000 on security personnel each year, but it would likely need much more funding to increase police visibility in the schools. While the plan is still on the drawing board, it would likely require passage of a school levy.
However, the schools’ cost could be reduced through a partnership with the city, which would benefit by having a larger police force.
School security should be viewed differently than other education spending. Whatever the cost, it will be worth the investment if it protects students and provides parents peace of mind while their children are in school.
The ongoing discussion about security is consistent with the district’s 2015-2020 strategic objectives, which call for Findlay City Schools to “provide safe educational facilities that foster positive learning environments.”
Findlay is known for creative problem-solving. City and school officials should continue to make security a high priority and find the most cost-effective way to get more cops in schools.