Fairfield Twp. seeking school police officer assigned to Butler Tech

Fairfield Twp. is actively looking for an experienced police officer to be a school resource officer at Butler Tech. The position is part-time. NICK GRAHAM/FILE
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Fairfield Twp. is actively looking for an experienced police officer to be a school resource officer at Butler Tech. The position is part-time. NICK GRAHAM/FILE

Fairfield Twp. is looking to hire a part-time school resource officer at Butler Tech’s D. Russel Lee campus, but it can be a “hard position to fill,” said the township’s assistant police chief.

The school resource officer, or SRO, will work similar hours to a teacher’s in-school schedule and events, and Capt. Doug Lanier said officials are looking for a specific type of person to fill the role as they are more than just a police officer.

“It requires a different skill set,” he said. “What’s unique about it is that you’re serving as a police officer, but you also serve as a counselor, mentor and educator.”

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Lanier said officials areare looking for a more seasoned officer used to working with high school students. Some agencies, he said, tend to hire retired officers for these positions.

The township has employed an SRO at Butler Tech for the better part of a decade, but the position has changed from a full-time officer assigned as an SRO to a part-time person working just for the school year. Lanier said the township cannot afford to take a current officer off the road “because we’re understaffed as it is.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s most recent data, 46 percent of traditional public schools had an SRO present at least once a week. The Butler Tech SRO will be there every school day.

The township police department’s authorized strength is 23 full-time officers for the community of just under 23,000. It has 22 officers on staff, but it will drop to 21 with an upcoming retirement.

The cost for the SRO will be paid by Butler Tech. SROs are typically in middle school and high school buildings.

Fairfield City Schools, which serves Fairfield Twp., has an SRO at its high school, freshman school and two middle schools. All four schools are within the Fairfield city limits, and the four officers are paid for by the city school district and Fairfield Police Department.

There are two Fairfield elementary schools in the township — Fairfield East and North — and while they do not have the personnel to assign an officer to them, on-duty officers do stop to visit and work with the students.

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