The Miami County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increased interest from county schools for School Resource Officers (SRO) in recent months.

Those districts include the Bethel Local Schools, where Superintendent Ginny Potter said the board of education would vote this week on adding a part-time SRO for the 2018-19 school year.

The requests will result in the hiring of at least one additional deputy to help fill requests and keep the department’s road deputies at current levels, Sheriff Dave Duchak told the county commissioners April 4.

“There is a lot that is fluid right now with districts,” Duchak said. “We have definitely had an increased interest in SROs.”

Under the sheriff’s department’s formula for SROs, the school district is charged for nine months of a full-time deputy’s top pay with benefits. The county pays the remaining three months for summer when deputies are assigned other duties.

The cost to a district for one SRO full time would be $62,725. The county share would be $20,908. The contracts are for three years.

The sheriff’s office covers the costs for uniforms, equipment, training and vehicles. The SROs receive a week of special training to become certified and then attend the annual state conference for SROs.

The most recent request for a SRO was from the Miami East Local Schools. They want a full-time SRO beginning in the fall, Duchak said. That district now pays off duty police officers to be in buildings.

The commissioners said they had no issues with the sheriff hiring more deputies to fill the SRO needs.

“I have no problem. We’ve got to protect our schools, there is no doubt about that,” Commissioner Jack Evans said.

The sheriff’s office currently provides under contract a full-time SRO at the Newton Local Schools in Pleasant Hill and at the Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua. The Milton Union schools have a part-time officer and is discussing the possibility of a full-time position with the sheriff’s office and the West Milton police, Sheriff’s Capt. Jamie McGlinch told commissioners.

Duchak said his office also is working with Newton schools on their plan to have trained staff in buildings along with guns kept in biometric gun safes. The department will be involved in the staff training.

Sheriff’s personnel also talked last year with the Bethel schools about armed staff.

Potters said the district has since implemented a program that included a resolution to allow armed staff in school safety zone. The district is using the FASTER Program to train specific staff members, she said.

The school policy “designates the Superintendent to approve certain employees and volunteers to possess, store or use weapons, including a concealed weapon,” Potter wrote in an email.

Duchak’s comments involved schools outside of Covington, Troy, Piqua and Tipp City, which work with local police departments on SROs, DARE officers and off duty officers in their buildings.

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