Sheriff’s Department gets money for middle and high school officers
School and law enforcement officials in Carson City say they can now take a “proactive” stance toward the issue of school violence thanks to a $250,000 federal grant.
The money was awarded this week to the Carson City Sheriff’s Department to provide schools with on-site security in the form of two sheriff’s deputies.
Starting next school year, one deputy will be assigned to Carson High School on a full-time basis while the other will travel between Carson and Eagle Valley middle schools and Carson Adult Education on Corbett Street.
Eagle Valley Middle School Principal Joanie Burris said the presence of a police officer on school grounds will give children an opportunity to interact with him or her on a first-name basis.
“I definitely have an interest in seeing the kids get to know the officer as a person,” she said. “I’m not looking for just another sheriff around to prevent crime. If it were just for crime prevention, we probably wouldn’t need this.”
Carson City Undersheriff Bill Callahan said having an officer on campus will allow children to feel comfortable approaching law enforcement officers.
“Throughout the country there are more drugs and more alcohol in our schools,” he said. “Having someone on campus means that they can be confided in and they can be close when they are needed.
“The community likes to think that their children can go to school and come home safely.”
The U.S. Department of Justice grant will provide 75 percent of the funding for the two additional officers for three years. The remaining 25 percent of the tab will be picked up by the department in the normal budgeting process.
Callahan said when the department accepted the grant it made the commitment to keep the officers on the payroll after the money dries up. “It was our intention to add those positions permanently.”
But the search for qualified applicants to fill the openings may present its own problem. Nationally, in a time of increased law enforcement funding, many agencies have had trouble finding people.
Carson City has had its own problems with filling positions. Callahan said the department is just now preparing to hire two new positions that were funded in October.
Two new officers would bring the total number of patrolling deputies to 44, Callahan said.