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WB Schools Seeking SRO

One southeast Iowa school district is ready to add a law enforcement presence, but its plan is not a certainty at this point in time.

The West Burlington School Board has voted to hire a part-time school resource officer.

Superintendent Dave Schmitt says the position would be 0.4 FTE (full-time equivalent), so the individual would work two full days or four half-days per week.

He envisions an SRO being on campus this fall.

Schmitt says the benefits go beyond being present during an incident.  He says the officer would also improve relations between the students and law enforcement.

"Many times, the young people are not comfortable with the police," says Schmitt, "so having an officer in the buildings and just talking to them will be a real benefit."

Schmitt says the next step is to work out the details with the city, which could be difficult.

City Administrator Dan Gifford says the city is willing to talk, but he says at this point, West Burlington does not have the staff to provide a part-time officer and the money to hire a full-time officer without the district paying 2/3 of the cost.

The city is currently in the process of crafting its FY 2015 budget.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.