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Sycamore School District 427 votes to hire police officer

Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 10:16 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 7:22 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – A police officer will soon patrol the hallways of Sycamore Middle School.

Sycamore School District 427 board members voted Tuesday to add a school resource officer to the middle school. Sycamore City Council members approved the plan during their meeting Monday.

Sycamore school board president Jim Dombek said the plan is a proactive measure rather than a reactive one that will increase security in the school at 150 Maplewood Drive.

“Having the presence of a school resource officer is beneficial for them, the district and for the students to begin to understand police are resources,” Dombek said. “Policemen are there to help, to serve and to protect.”

The agreement, which goes into affect Aug. 1, will assign one resource officer to the middle school when school is in session.

The school board will reimburse the city of Sycamore for the officer’s salary, which will be $60,000 a year.

The officer will be responsible for investigating law violations, classroom presentations, protecting students as well as school personnel and school property, participation in development and administration of school security practices, and training school staff and security personnel, city documents show.

The officer, who will have at least five years of experience, will primarily be at the middle school but may be in any of the schools in District 427. When school is not in session, the police department will assign the officer to other police duties.

The middle school’s officer won’t be the only one in local schools. Sycamore High School, 555 Spartan Trail, already has a school resource officer.

Superintendent Kathy Countryman said adding a school resource officer was discussed last year but was unable to come to fruition because of finances.

Officials had hoped the school resource officer at Sycamore High School would be able to also serve students at the middle school and other schools in the district, but being at the high school has taken up all his time, Countryman said.

The middle school resource officer will be able to develop relationships with students and teach them to be good digital citizens, Countryman said.

Dombek said the district is thinking ahead.

“As life gets more and more complex, there are more and more problems,” he said. “The school resource officer will help solve those problems.”

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