Three months after the Highland School Board approved the hiring of a new school resource officer, the city of Highland has OK'd its end of the deal.
The City Council approved the SRO contract with the school at its meeting on June 4.
"We are really blessed that we are able to do this at this time," said Highland Police Chief Terry Bell. "It's been a while since we've had an SRO."
The original SRO program in Highland was formed in the mid- to late-1990s but was discontinued about seven years ago as both the school district and city were dealing with budgetary issues.
Mayor Joe Michaelis, a former chief of police in Highland, said he was skeptical of the need for an SRO when the department first implemented it more than two decades ago. But in today's world, the program is something the school and community cannot do without, Michaelis said.
"It's a thing that just has to be in our school system," Michaelis said.
The deal requires to the school to pick up 75 percent of the cost for having the SRO. The city will pick up the other 25 percent, which equates the three summer months when school is not in session and the officer would assume regular policing duties. Estimates are that the SRO will cost about $95,000. This cost would cover salary, benefits, equipment, and potentially over-time for after-hours activities the officer would need to attend.
The SRO contract between the school and city is for five years.
"Hopefully, this is something we can do for many years," Michaelis said.
HPD officer Chris Flake will start on as the school district's full-time resource officer when school comes back in session this fall.
"I don't think we could find anyone more suited to do this," Bell said of Flake.
"I think the department made a great selection," said Michaelis.
Flake has been with the department since May 2009. He graduated from the Southwestern Illinois College Police Academy. While there, he was class president of the academy and the SIPCA's Most Outstanding Cadet. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a master's of science degree from Lindenwood University.
Flake has served as both a patrol officer and detective with HPD. While in investigations, he was assigned as the lead detective in numerous felony cases.
To make up for the hours lost on the street due to Flake being in the schools, the department has hired another officer.
Shane Zobrist was sworn in as the newest Highland Police officer during the City Council meeting on June 4. He should begin patrolling some time this winter.
"He starts at the academy on (June 7), and we hope to have him up and going by the end of the year," Bell said.
In other business, the council:
▪ Approved adding options for 12-, 24- and 36-month terms for 50 and 100 Mb/s Ethernet private line connectivity for Highland Communication Services customers to the regional data center at 900 Walnut in St. Louis, Mo.
A recent assessment indicated the tiers and prices established for HCS’s Ethernet private line connections to St. Louis are outdated. Each of the last three requests for the product have been for 50 Mb/s and above.
In order to provide the capacity local business need to reach the St. Louis data center, HCS needed to provide options, Angela Imming, the city's director of technology and innovation, wrote in a memo to council members.
Imming said that HCS currently has requests to provide two EPLs at 36-month terms for $790 per month, each, and there is no additional cost for the city to provide the service.
▪ Approved a bid for installation of a new poured-in-place playground surface at Glik Park. Constructive Play Things New Toys from Grandview, Mo., was the low bidder at $19,975. The bid was more than $14,000 lower than the next-best bid. City Manager Mark Latham said the large difference was because the low bid was obtained via a state bidding process. The engineer's estimate for the project was $37,000.
▪ Approved an addendum to the original proposal for architectural and engineering services with David A. Loyet and Associates Inc. Architects.
In April, the city approved Loyet’s proposal for architectural design and engineering of the city's new proposed public safety building. Loyet’s fee was to be 5.5 percent of the estimated $7.7 million cost for construction ($423,500).
However, the city now wants Loyet to provide additional architectural services beyond the original scope of the contract to include a basement and other possible changes. The price approved for Loyet to do the additional work is $57,750.
▪ Authorizing application to the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program for the purpose of resurfacing Cypress Street and construction of ADA-compliant curb ramps.
▪ Approved a notice of municipal letting for Motor Fuel Tax maintenance materials, including items for seal coat operations (oil and chip), as well as aggregates.
▪ Approved requests by representatives of Kirchenfest, Relay for Life and the Veterans' Monument dedication scheduled for July 4. Kirchenfest representatives requested the normal help from the city with policing the grounds, utilities, and sanitation. Relay For Life requested placing purple ribbons around trees on the Square, and the VFW and American Legion asked that parking be allowed on both sides of Veterans Honor Parkway during the memorial dedication.
▪ Approved prevailing Rate of wage rates.