Plans For Resource Officer At N-Y Schools Delayed

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Plans for Nelsonville-York City School District to hire the county’s first resource officer are slightly delayed, but officials still think the contract will be finalized and an officer will be hired before the start of the school year.

The number of candidates are now down to four, according to Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly. Previously, five were in the running; one has since taken another job. Kelly declined to share the names until they’re presented to the school district, but had said “every person that has applied is very well-qualified for the position.”

As previously reported, school officials will be interviewing the candidates. The sheriff’s office will have a captain or a lieutenant present during the interviews to help with the process. Who is ultimately selected will up to the school district to decide, Kelly added.

Earlier in the year, Kelly had said he anticipated presenting the school with candidates in June, but modifications to the contract language have delayed things slightly. Kelly declined to comment on the details of the contract until an officer is hired.

“I just finished a revision of the contract and added thoughts and instructions from (Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Robert) Driscoll,” Kelly said Friday. “I’ll be sending it to the superintendent soon.”

Micah Covert, the school board president, said he expects the board to sign the contract at the August meeting.

The school will pay the salary and benefits of the officer during the nine months of the school year, Supt. Mick McClelland had said. It’s unclear if the resource officer will be working for the sheriff’s office during the summer months. Kelly had said it’s not his intention, but it’s a possibility.

The resource officer will oversee Nelsonville-York’s elementary, middle school and high school students, who are housed on the same campus. The officer will be expected to be on school grounds during the same hours as teachers to respond to any criminal activity related to the school.

“This person will serve as a security person, to minimize the possibility of anything happening,” Kelly said.

The officer may also teach or speak in the classroom on related topics, Kelly added.

Kelly did say the position is not part of the sheriff's office union, at least the first year. Next year, he said, he will apply to a federal resource officer grant.

“At that point, it may become part of the union,” he said.