Carson City gets grant to hire school resource officers
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong on Friday announced a $375,000 federal grant he says will expand and make the School Resource Officer program full-time and permanent.
“This is a significant development for this town,” he said. “We’ve had many incidents at our schools. The community deserves this commitment.”
The grant will pay the salaries and benefits for three permanent school resource officers for three years. After that, it goes away but Furlong said the conditions of the grant require Carson City continue the program into the future after that.
Because it commits the city and school district to a permanent program, accepting the grant will require approval from both the district and the Board of Supervisors.
Furlong emphasized “we did not go after this grant so we could arrest more kids.”
“I really anticipate that we’re going to arrest fewer juveniles,” he said.
He said the three-member team including Deputy Jessica Dickey, who already works at Carson High, focuses year round on the issues involving Carson’s more than 7,000 K-12 students, not just during the school year.
Dickey said it will create “a special unit of people who know the kids in the community, who they hang out with, where they go after school.” She said those students will be safer if they know the school officers by name because they can feel comfortable talking with the deputies.
Furlong said those three officers will all be fully trained deputies who will get even more training in dealing with school age children.
“They will be engaged with our kids in this town all year round,” he said.
He said Dickey and the other officers will develop relationships with students beyond just when they are at school.
Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes said teachers, staff and students all feel safer and more comfortable when there’s a patrol car in the parking lot and a uniformed officer on school grounds.
He said the School Resource Officers “are going to have to be a different kind of person — someone able to work with young adults.”
“I have not found a teacher who did not love this program,” Furlong said. “He or she needs to be able to take into account they’re working with school-age children.”
The school board is expected to vote in mid-October on the grant before heading to the Board of Supervisors in November.
“I saw that from the sheriff, and I said that’s great news, great news indeed. My hat’s off to the sheriff and his folks,” said Mayor Robert Crowell.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Crowell said about the grant.