Police officer likely to be stationed at Whitnall High School
Greenfield Police Department, school district to share cost
Whitnall School District likely will have a police liaison officer assigned to it early next year, Superintendent Karen Petric told the School Board Committee of the Whole on Nov. 10.
Plans call for a sworn Greenfield Police Department officer to be assigned to the schools shortly after the winter holidays, pending final approval of the city and Police Department budgets.
Greenfield police Inspector Brad Wentlandt said the only obstacle to putting on officer at Whitnall High School is if the city of Greenfield cuts funding for police officers in the 2009 budget.
The Whitnall district has not had a liaison since February, 2008, when Angela Krohn, a Greenfield police officer, left the school liaison position because of a shortage of patrol officers in her department.
Krohn, who served as the district’s first liaison, transferred to day-shift patrol.
The department has trained more officers for patrol since Krohn left the position, Wentlandt said, and projects having more officers on the street by early next year — allowing it to once again staff the liaison position.
Although the next liaison has not been selected, much of the planning regarding the position’s implementation is already done.
“Basically, it’s going to be the same arrangement as last time — a 50-50 split of costs between the Greenfield Police Department and the school district,” Petric said. “We have that in our budget for this (school) year.”
The new liaison will operate out of Whitnall High School and not Whitnall Middle School.
“The next resource officer that is hired will have the discretion to determine whether they will go over to (the middle school) and deal with an issue or will they call someone else in,” Petric said.
Bill Osterndorf, School Board vice president, said the board will be happy to have a liaison return. The panel did not have to take action on the matter because of prior action approving the position about two years ago.
Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke said he is glad the city could contribute an officer to the school district.
“We think having an officer there provides the faculty a resource they wouldn’t otherwise have,” he said. “That can only be a good thing.”
John Neville can be reached at (262) 446-6609.
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