City of Dickson Continues Pledge for School Resource Officers

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Dickson County High School

The City of Dickson continued its effort to promote school safety by renewing its agreement to provide school resource officers for all the public schools located within the city.

At its Monday, July 18, meeting, the City Council approved and authorized Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr. to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dickson County Board of Education to provide nine trained and certified police officers to be on seven Dickson County campuses for the 2022-2023 school year that begins Aug. 1. The MOU goes before the Dickson County School Board at its July 28 meeting.

Under the agreement, the Dickson Police Department will provide:

• A supervisor/detective to oversee the SRO program;

• Two SROs at Dickson County High School; and

• One SRO each at:

o Centennial Elementary School;

o Oakmont Elementary School;

o Dickson Elementary School;

o The Discovery School;

o Dickson Middle School; and

o The Dickson County High School Lower Campus (formerly Sullivan Central Elementary School).

Under the terms of the agreement, the City of Dickson will fully fund the salaries and benefits of all nine officers. The school system will reimburse the city the equivalent of 185 days of salaries and benefits for five of the officers, to cover the 180 days of the school year and five days of required training.

For the nine officers assigned as SROs for 2022-2023, the total salaries and benefits committed by the City of Dickson will be $653,000.96. The reimbursement of approximately 71% of the cost of the five SROs will be $257,231.40, an increase of just under $25,000 or 10.75% over the previous year, pending approval of the MOU by the school board.

“The City of Dickson is committed to doing everything possible to create a safe educational environment for students in our public schools,” said Mayor Weiss. “We know this program has been effective in promoting healthy relationships between students and law enforcement officers and has contributed to preventing potentially dangerous situations on local campuses.”

Using a grant, the Dickson Police Department placed its first SRO at Dickson Elementary School in a pilot program in 1998 until the grant expired.

In 2008, the Dickson City Council agreed to place an officer at Dickson County High School as a full-time SRO funded by the city.

In 2011, the city and school board approved an MOU to add an SRO at Dickson Middle School with the school system reimbursing the city for 185 days of the officer’s salary and benefits.

Following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., in February 2018, Mayor Weiss asked the city council to fully fund two more SROs for a period of three years. In 2021, the council agreed to extend those two positions for another three-year period through 2024.

In July 2018, the Dickson County Commission approved a schools budget that included SROs at all campuses in the county. The Dickson Police Department added four more officers to be reimbursed by the school system to cover all seven schools in the city by the end of Christmas break in January 2019, bringing the department’s total to eight.

The SRO supervisor/detective position was added in 2020 at the request of Chief Jeff Lewis for nine Dickson Police Department officers working full-time inside seven schools, all fully funded by the City of Dickson with reimbursement for five from the school system.

For 2022-2023, the school resource officers from the Dickson Police Department will be Supervisor/Detective Sgt. Eric Chandler and officers Cameron Stinson, Holden Foster, Charlie Mullins, Daniel Lewis, Jamie Patterson, Larson Petty, Curtis Robertson and J.D. Sumerour.

Some SROs also serve as instructors for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program in their schools. When school is not in session, SROs return to assignments with the police department.

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