Government

Geneva aldermen OK new contract for police officer at high school

New agreement continues 20+ years of city, school collaboration

GENEVA – Aldermen Monday gave final approval for an intergovernmental agreement with Geneva School District 304 providing for a school resource officer to work at Geneva High School.

Aldermen had unanimously approved the contract at the Nov. 1 Committee of the Whole meeting.

“The Geneva Police Department and the Geneva School District 304 have enjoyed a positive working relationship as it relates to the school resource officer for in excess of 20 years,” City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins had said at committee.

Attorneys for the school district and city already reviewed the agreement, Dawkins said. Now that aldermen approved it, the contract will go to District 304 for school board approval, she said.

Third Ward Alderman Becky Hruby asked at committee if Police Chief Eric Passarelli could give an overview of what officer does at the high school.

“They are there – obviously – to provide for the safety and security of staff and students in the building,” Passarelli said. “They participate in interviews if there’s disciplinary issues that may occur if there’s items found in lockers and those sort of things.”

The resource officer also handles anything that would be a police-related function occurring inside the school, Passarelli said.

“Just this morning (Nov. 1), as an example, they had some 911 hang-up calls in the school building. He handled those, as compared to an officer coming off the street and handling those calls,” Passarelli had said at committee.

“So they’re basically (a) police officer in the school, but they also have the opportunity to build partnerships with the students and kind of take that barrier away,” he said. “And they work hard to build those relationships with the kids and teachers.”

If staff finds out about drug use, they bring it to the resource officer, who works with the parents “and handling whatever consequence may be appropriate at that time,” Passarelli said.

The school resource officer usually holds that position for five years, long enough to build relationships, he said.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have outstanding officers in there who really do become staff members to the district,” Passarelli said at committee. “We’ve been very lucky that way.”

During the summer, the resource officer works out of the station as a detective, and also is a primary juvenile detective, he said.

The high school resource officer can also be called to the middle schools or elementary schools if needed, he said.

According to the agreement, which expires Sept. 30, 2026, the school district and the city will split the officer’s annual salary of $101,512.