Grand Junction looking to add more resource officers at schools

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) Grand Junction is looking to make schools as safe as they can be.

At a meeting Wednesday, Grand Junction City Council members talked about hiring more resource officers at schools within city limits so they can be more proactive.

"Our community members were obviously concerned about the safety of the school students in our community,’ said Greg Caton, the city manager. "We need to increase our SRO program," said Caton.

The plan is to add two more school resource officers.

"We have three positions filled and four authorized and we need to get to six," said Caton.

The city doesn’t have the funding, so they looked for direction from the council.

"The school resource officer solution is good," said Bennett Boeschenstein, a city council member.

Staff will come back with an amended city budget at a future meeting.

"We would need to find the resources for these additional school resource officers," said Caton.

The estimated costs in the first year are around $250,000. Ongoing costs are estimated to cost around $212,000 and would increase based on pay raises.

The plan gets bigger than just one city.

"We have City of Grand Junction residents and youth going to Fruita Monument High School and throughout our county,” said Caton. "What we need is a comprehensive countywide school resource plan."

The district said now is a good time to add more.

"Everything that has been going on in this country... and people having concerns about school security,” said Emily Shockley, a spokesperson with District 51.

District 51 said school resource officers bring benefits to the school and the kids.

"Because it gives kids that connection to law enforcement, someone they can talk to and feel is their friend,” said Shockley.

Councilmembers said that adding more school resource officers isn't the only solution. Both councilmembers Chris Kennedy and Bennett Boeschenstein said there need to be more counselors.

As for the countywide initiative, right now there are 9 school resource officers. The plan is to get that number to 16 by next school year.

The school district plans on adding four more security officers to their team. They're looking to hire two this spring and then two this summer so next school year they have eight.

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