During Monday’s meeting, Peru City Council approved a request from La Salle/Putnam County Educational Alliance for Special Education and the La Salle, Marshall, Putnam Regional Office of Education #35 to begin a school resource officer program.
Peru Police Chief Sarah Raymond said this was a key first step in getting one full-time SRO after representatives from the organizations requested an one during last Tuesday’s Public Services Committee meeting.
“Building a partnership with (these organizations) is important for the kids that they service,” Raymond said. “A lot of those kids may have had negative police interactions and positive police interactions are what we hope to obtain by providing this program.”
L.E.A.S.E. and ROE #35 will be responsible for 75% of the officer’s pay, while the city will make up the other 25% of the salary.
Once the officer is hired, they will become the only SRO partially supported by the city of Peru, according to Raymond. La Salle-Peru High School also has an SRO, but it comes from the city of La Salle.
Alderman Jason Edgcomb said while they would love to have a police presence anywhere they can, he doesn’t believe it’s a priority for other Peru public schools right now.
“They haven’t come to us and shown a need,” Edgcomb said. “But, obviously with everything that’s going on right now across the country, it’s something to keep an eye on.”
Raymond said the department continues to have a good partnership with the Peru Public Schools.
“We are on their campuses daily,” Raymond said. “Before school and after school, doing patrols and then we perform walkthroughs during the day.”
Raymond said they are analyzing the possibility of hiring someone from within or putting out applications for the position. The department will work on getting a job description out this week and have it ready for approval at the next public works committee.
In the meantime, the organizations will have access to an officer, while the department searches to fill the position.