Council set to OK five officers for city schools

WARREN — City Council is expected to approve legislation tonight that will allow the city to provide Warren City Schools five resource officers to work in its buildings at a cost of $286,000.

However, Superintendent Steve Chiaro on Tuesday said the number of officers in the schools will increase to six.

Chiaro said this year’s increase of school resource officers is the result of a yearlong negotiation between the city and the school district, which is expected to add another resource officer in the 2018 -19 school year, Chiaro said.

School resource officers are full-time city police officers whose jobs are to work in the schools with administrative staff members and develop one-on-one relationships with students.

Currently, two resource officers are assigned to Warren G. Harding High School, Jefferson and Willard Pre-K-8 schools and a floating officer is assigned to Lincoln and McGuffey Pre-K-8 schools.

Warren Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said having the officers in the schools is helping the district maintain safety for its staff and students, but also allows students to have more interaction with law enforcement officers.

“Having positive interactions helps in later years,” Cantalamessa said. “It is less likely people will have a run-in with the law when they have positive relationships with law enforcement.”

Chiaro said the resource officers are an asset to school buildings.

“Their purpose is to build meaningful relationships with our students and support them and their families,” Chiaro said. “Their presence should serve as a deterrent from outside disruptions and should enable students to attend school in a safe environment.”

The contract with the schools over the years has helped the city offset some of its costs.

In 2015, the city earned $250,000 from its contract with the school district to provide school resource officers. In 2016, the city eared $206,000.

Cantalamessa said the district pays the city $57,000 per officer during the course of the contract, which is an increase of approximately $7,000 per year.

“The school district only pays for equipment officers use as school resource officers,” Cantalamessa said. “It does not pay for equipment used outside of that job.”