As is often the case with shared services, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. School Resource Officer (SRO) Tim Malone is more than a patrolman in the hallways of Fort Morgan’s high school and middle school. He teaches a segment on constitutional law in an American government class, as well as drug and alcohol classes in middle school health classes. He offers support for students struggling with difficulties at home or in the community. Officer Morgan mentions, “On any given day, there would be students who would come in and either have a question or they might have an issue at home that I can help them deal with, or work through it, or at least get them pointed in the right direction for resources that might help them with whatever issues they are having.”
Fort Morgan High School Principal Ben Bauman said the presence of the school resource officer has improved student behavior and safety in the school and the community. He said the money is not there for the school district to do it alone - only a cooperative effort with the city makes it possible.
The SRO is a sworn police officer who is available both as an SRO and for regular police duties in the city when the need arises. Fort Morgan Police Chief Darin Sagel points to many benefits for the community, “It is another way that we can help find out what’s going on within our community and work within our schools to solve problems before they occur and be a benefit for all combined.”
Responsibilities are clearly outlined in the intergovernmental agreement. Among the details: personnel costs of employing the school resource officer are split 40/60 (school district/city); the officer is an employee of the city and part of the police department chain of command; an office for the SRO is provided in each of the schools; and the SRO has use of school office equipment. The school district contributes $2,000 each year for expenses such as equipment and a patrol car.
Fort Morgan City Manager Jeff Wells expects the IGA to continue into future years as it enjoys support with both city councilmembers and members of the board of education. “This is a service that benefits the schools and the community in a way that prevents crime, helps the individual students, and makes sure that the schools are a safe place.”
Read the IGA and watch a video that, among other shared services, explores details on this agreement.