Mayor Coleen J. Seng today said that despite the Lincoln Public Schools’ (LPS) cancellation of a contract to share the cost with the City, the 15 school resource officers are back in Lincoln schools for this year.
The cancellation of the contract by the public schools added an unexpected $381,124 to City spending this year, the amount schools would have paid under the contract arrangement. The approximate total cost of the officers being assigned to the schools is $658,000. LPS cancelled the contract due to its budget constraints. Mayor Seng said she believes the schools should restore funding for the resource officers after this year.
The Lincoln Police Department (LPD) has assigned one officer to each of the City’s six public high schools, four officers to serve the 10 public middle schools, and five officers to serve the 51 public and parochial elementary schools.
“More than 31,000 children attend Lincoln Public Schools, more than the entire population of Kearney,” said Mayor Seng. “Our schools are vital community institutions with diverse policing needs. Because these officers perform very important duties, we have included full funding for the assignments in the recently approved City budget for fiscal year 2003-2004.”
Police Chief Tom Casady said LPD handled 3,135 dispatches at schools last year and thousands more in the vicinity of schools.
“Our school resource officers not only provide police services that any community of 31,000 needs, they also serve as mentors, counselors, teachers and role models to students,” said Chief Casady. “We did not want to let this program lapse due to temporary fiscal problems. It is just too important. I am pleased that we can continue to serve the schools.”
Under the previous contract, LPS shared the cost of school resource officers in all the middle and high schools and contributed $55,000 for school resource officers in the elementary schools. School resource officers are reassigned to other patrol duties during school vacation periods and the summer months when school is not in session.