Police will remain in schools through June

By Jonathan Delozier - jdelozier@civitasmedia.com

Security officers will remain on duty in the Wellington Schools through June after the board of education took steps Feb. 9 to formalize the arrangement with a memorandum of understanding.

The schools use Wellington police officers for security. They are considered only school employees when performing those duties.

Since the program was initiated in 2015, it has operated on a month-to-month basis without a formal, long-term agreement.

Now it’s on the books that officers will be be paid $25 an hour with the school board matching a 14 percent contribution to their retirement fund, which brings the hourly total to around $28.75.

“This just clarifies a lot of things,” said school board member Daniel Rosecrans. “It gets us through the rest of this year and we can revisit things as we need to.”

Reasons brought up Feb. 9 for drafting the agreement were better logging of hours worked and clarification of whether officers are considered police or private security when on duty at the schools.

Last summer, the village denied a request for $15,000 to help cover the yearly cost of the program, which has been estimated at about $38,000.

Police chief Tim Barfield thinks Rosecrans’ concerns with how the program operates could stem from his 25-year tenure as a Wellington police officer, which ended in 2015 just before being elected to the school board.

He said Rosecrans independently sought school resource officer training and offered his services to the school board without the WPD’s knowledge.

“Rosecrans is a disgruntled former member of this department,” he said. “He tried to undermine people who work here before I came and tried to steal away the SRO job. The job was offered to guys here, and he (Rosecrans) went out and got the SRO training on his own. The person making these complaints should provide some reason why he tried to undermine his guys here. None of this was an issue before he got on the school board, and I don’t get it.”

Rosecrans said that situation did not factor into his desire to draft a formal agreement.

“That’s just not true,” he said. “I did go through the SRO program to get trained up on it. The superintendent at that time approached me and talked with me about the position. It was my suggestion that the school board send school security officers through SRO training and the village didn’t want to do that. There’s no sour grapes here.”

Drafting a memorandum of understanding is common practice in other districts that employ police officers, he said.

“If you were to talk to Keystone, Grafton, or LaGrange, they have an MOU,” he said. “Typically, an SRO remains an employee of the village of police department.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier