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Meridian mayor proposes six new student resource officers for West Ada elementary schools

West Ada School District
Posted at 3:52 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 17:52:17-04

MERIDIAN, Idaho — School may be out for summer, but local leaders are already addressing student safety for future school years.

In light of the recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas where 19 children and two teachers were killed, Meridian Mayor Robert Simison is proposing the city hire six student resource officers who would be dedicated to West Ada elementary schools. During his state of the city address, Simison got emotional when talking about the events in Texas and what the reality is now for young students across the country.

"As a parent, the thought of this is unimaginable," Simison said. "We send our children to school every day to learn and grow, but more and more they're being put in a position to be aware of the violence that can exist."

Simison said safety is the city's number one priority and although the police department already has a strong relationship with the school district, he says more needs to be done.

Related: Meridian Police Department talks mental health with response team, vehicle unveiling Monday

School resource officers work as a partnership between the school district and the city's police department. West Ada currently has 12 SROs. Most are assigned to a specific middle or high school in the district.

The proposed positions would be part of a dedicated SRO program specifically for the district's elementary schools.

"These additional officers will allow our current SROs to stay focused on their efforts in high schools and middle schools while bringing needed resources to our most vulnerable group," Simison said.

The positions would have to be budgeted for and approved by the city council. That process starts later this month and would be finalized in August.

If approved, Meridian's police chief said they'd work to get the SROs trained and on campus as close to the start of the school year as possible. Each officer would be assigned two or three elementary schools in the district and would rotate to each campus throughout the school day.