Leachville Council discusses School Resource Officer
Buffalo Island Central administrators, High School Principal Randy Rose and Elementary Principal Dr. Kima Stewart, addressed Leachville City Council at the Aug. 20 meeting to discuss partnering with the city to provide a School Resource Officer (SRO).
Mayor Rodney Robertson introduced Mr. Rose who talked about adding a SRO officer at the elementary school.
When asked about the job description by Officer Kasey Sheppard, Mr. Rose and Dr. Stewart agreed it is a work in progress. Rose said the high school had entered into a contract with the Monette Police Department for an officer to be on the high school campus.
The school will pay $30,000 of the salary and the city will pay the remaining amount. The department can work out a rotation with the officers for the five days a week from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. during the school year of 178 days. The officers will be available full time for the city during the summer months.
Councilman Keith Evans commented the city had just gotten up to four full time officers and the chief is injured.
“We will need to look at adding an officer,” Evans said. “I am for it, we just need to look for a certified officer.”
Rose said it is all about the safety of the students.
Dr. Stewart said the school conducts soft and hard lock down drills.
“Our new school is an amazing facility,” Dr. Stewart said. “We are all under one roof and it has exterior doors with only one entrance.”
She went on to talk about the safety features of the building including safe rooms, etc. Dr. Stewart invited the council to come to the school for a tour if they have not visited.
Rose said the school has added $60,000 to the budget, "a real commitment." He said the high school and elementary job description will be different.
“We had an officer have lunch at the school and many of the kids were scared of her,” Dr. Stewart said.
She said they want them to know the officers are their friends. She expressed her appreciation for the officers helping with the traffic, stray dog, getting in touch with a parent, etc.
“The job will go way beyond traffic duty,” she said. “It is long reaching.”
Councilwoman Teresa Johnson said the safety of the children makes it all worth it.
“I had to call an ambulance for an adult on the first day of school, and I want to commend everyone for the quick response,” Dr. Stewart said. “We have 429 students, a new school year in a new building and it is going to be a great year.”
Mayor Robertson said he received a text on the traffic.
For the safety of the students, Dr. Stewart said the students are kept inside until they are put in the vehicles. She said there are a lot of cars and it is not safe for the students to be walking out in the moving traffic.
Councilman Paul Wildy said the city of Leachville is in full support of a SRO for the school.
“We will do what we can do to see it happen," Wildy said. "We just hired a fourth full time officer and if we need a fifth we will get it. Just give us a little time to work it out.”
“It is my pleasure and delight to be the principal at BIC,” Dr. Stewart said. “We are all under one roof. We had a happy day today (the first day of the school year in the new building). There is no other place like BIC. It is an amazing place.”
The council set the fall clean up on Friday, Sept. 21, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 22, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday through Friday, Sept. 24-28 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Leachville residents will be able to discard unwanted items at no charge. It is a community clean-up effort and spreading it over time will give residents time to clean up property.
In other business:
*The council agreed to purchase new trash container near the tennis courts at an estimated cost of $500.
*It was announced Ken Wadley, Casey Bandy and Jarred McGrew, will perform at the Melody on Saturday. Also the high school drama team will start practicing for their next production at the Melody.
*The council voted to transfer $40,000 from the general fund to a money market account.
*The council voted to accept the 2016 audit report. Ms. Keith, city clerk/treasurer, explained the city did not receive the final report and during 2017 audit she was asked why the approval of the 2016 audit was not in the minutes. She called, received the report and it was accepted. Councilman Wildy said the good audit was a credit to Keith's work. Wildy also noted the city had more money now than it had at the end of 2016.
*The council voted unanimously to reappoint Mari Hayden to the Housing Authority Board.
*Councilwoman Lisa Baldridge gave an update on the Harvest Festival, saying there are a few slots open for vendors. There are 22 bicycles to be given away with more coming and more items to be given away, great entertainment, free games for the children, and much more.
*Councilman Evans and his wife are going to donate a bicycle and he challenged the council members to do so.
*Mayor Robertson had called the Department of Transportation about the street paving. He and Senator Dave Wallace have made phone calls about getting main street paved to the sidewalk.
*Mayor Robertson recognized county judge candidate John Nelson and his wife. “We are glad to be here,” Mr. Nelson said. He commended Leachville officials for working together and the citizens who attend.