SILVER CREEK - Silver Creek Police Chief Timothy Roche recently sat down with the OBSERVER to explain why the School Resource Officer program is important and that there are plans to make it work in the future.
He said there have been meetings during which funding of the program has been the main topic.
"What we have been talking about primarily is the funding. This problem came around in the last three years. In years past funding was not an issue, so now we are meeting with all the individual partners and we are trying to get together where each municipality that has children will share in the cost of the entire program," he explained.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Silver Creek Police Chief Timothy Roche explained what is happening with the School Resource Officer Agreement in a recent interview.
Roche said because Seneca students attend Silver Creek, the Seneca Nation is one of the partners involved in financial discussions.
"Because the Seneca Nation has about 13 percent of students in the Silver Creek school population, they are now included as a partner. ... What we are doing going forward is the school districts are bound by the (tax) cap so it makes it difficult for them to find the extra money to maintain the program. The village has for several years used their money to supplement the program but they no longer have the funds. That's why we are trying to get together with all the partners and put together a program that would benefit all the children," he said.
He said meetings of many involved entities will be "the way we have to solve problems in the future."
Roche explained the SRO program used to be offered in conjunction with D.A.R.E, but funds for this have dried up.
"There is no training, there is no recertification that I know of. That's why you see so few D.A.R.E. programs now because there is no support for them," he said.
He said schools are looking into a community-based program with the same ob-jectives as D.A.R.E.
"The school districts have taken over it now and are doing something we are looking into called the Michigan Model. This would be a replacement for D.A.R.E. It teaches the same kind of objectives but it's done by teachers, policemen, by lawyers, by different individuals in the community. It's more of a community based program than a law enforcement program and that's where I think where we are going to be going," he added.
He did confirm that currently there are no officers trained to be an SRO, but he and Sgt. Stephen Romanik are trained instructors.
He said the required SRO training takes about a week and is usually offered in the fall. The Michigan Model training may be offered through BOCES, which is separate from the SRO training. The costs for the training have not been negotiated.
He added there is a need for the program.
"I think if you look at the amount of calls we take in the individual schools and the amount of activity there, there is definitely a need and the school recognize that need," he said.
He said there were calls for the police the first week of school and the teachers definitely noticed the absence of the SRO at the beginning of the school year.