There will be a third school resource officer (SRO) within the Union R-XI School District now that Union aldermen approved the contract Monday night.
An ordinance was approved Monday for the joint venture between the city and Union R-XI School District.
The board approved the ordinance unanimously.
According to Police Chief Norman Brune, officer Jim Wells has been selected to serve as the new SRO and he will be posted at Central Elementary.
“I think this is a worthy cause and has worked out well,” said Mayor Mike Livengood.
Under an agreement with the school district, during the school year half of the officers’ salaries are paid by the district. The other half is paid by the city of Union.
The school district also funds some vehicle repair and maintenance costs.
The city would hire a new patrol officer to replace Wells.
There are now two SROs, Kevin Anderson, who is stationed at Union High School; and Rod Tappe, who works out of Union Middle School.
Brune has stated that there are more than 3,000 students in schools within Union, including Union R-XI and Immaculate Conception Grade School.
Less than half of the students are at UHS and UMS.
While the SROs visit each school within the district, a third officer will create a safer environment for more students, Brune has said.
Anderson, who already was employed by the police department, began work as an SRO in 2003. Tappe began working as an SRO in 2010. He also had already been with the department.
SROs do go to other schools, and teach D.A.R.E classes, and a new officer at Central Elementary will provide a quicker response time by officers to Clark-Vitt and IC.
A Union SRO does not go to Beaufort School, which is outside the city limits.
The new SRO officer would be a veteran officer, he added, but that would open a slot for the department to hire a new officer. The city now has 21 officers.
The city would pay the salary of the new SRO during the summer months, and the additional officer would provide patrol in areas where teens hang out in the summer months.
Anderson and Tappe already are visible in the parks during the summer.
SROs still will visit Immaculate Conception Grade School.