Eudora city, school district agree to add 2nd police officer to school beat
The Eudora City Commission and school district have agreed to address the top safety concern of parents of Eudora students.
Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin said that district parents identified the need for a greater police presence in Eudora schools as their top safety concern in meetings the district conducted in spring of 2018. Currently, Eudora elementary, middle and high schools share the one police officer the city assigns to the district beat.
Eudora City Manager Barack Matite said the City Commission and school board approved last month an arrangement that will place a second officer in schools starting with the next school year. The officer will be assigned to a school beat but not technically a school resource officer because the person will have other law enforcement duties, he said.
Under the agreement, the city will pay for 67% of the cost of placing a new police officer in the schools. Those costs include salary, benefits, uniform, equipment, car and other needs of a law enforcement officer, Matite said.
Matite said he had not put a pencil to the total cost, but the Eudora salary range for a newly hired police officer is from $44,000 to $64,000, depending on experience.
Matite said the police department might not have a new officer hired before the start of the school year in August or hire an officer who will need to complete the law enforcement academy training during the school year. In either case, one of the two officers on the city’s regular day shift will be assigned to the schools until the new officer is on the beat, he said.
“With the detective and supervisor, we have enough coverage during the weekday when things are usually pretty slow,” he said. “If backup is needed, a school officer could leave a school until the incident is over.”
Reazin said City Commissioners Tim Bruce and Troy Squire, who is a captain in the Lawrence Police Department, worked with the school board last month to develop the agreement.
“We have a great relationship with the school district,” Reazin said of the City Commission. “We recognize they are the largest employer in the community and a great asset to the city. Anything we can do to make our children safer, the better.”