Under a new contract approved Monday night by the school board for the police-school liaison officer, communication between the district and the Verona Police Department regarding activities that could impact one another will increase.
That’s the most significant change in a PSLO contract was was left mostly unchanged from the prior year’s contract, superintendent Dean Gorrell said at the meeting. The new contract’s language states the district will communicate information to the police department when information arises with students that could result in a situation requiring law enforcement intervention. It also says the police will share information regarding incidents happening in the community that might pose a threat to the district.
The language reflects the improved communication between the district and the police department that’s been happening, Gorrell said.
“I think we’ve made some pretty good strides,” he said. “This just really codifies that in language.”
Other language changes to the contract include an update to the purpose description of the officer to more closely match the district’s strategic plan. The contract adds that the PSLO’s role is meant to further the “safe and inclusive” environment of the district’s school sites.
The contract was unanimously approved by four board members in attendance at Monday’s meeting. Board members Tom Duerst, Kristina Navarro-Haffner and Meredith Stier Christensen were absent.
The PSLO position is a partnership between the district and the police department, but an employee of the police department. The district pays for 60% of the officer’s salary during months when school is in session.
While the district doesn’t have the power to appoint a specific officer to the post, it retains the right to request a different officer from the department.
PSLOs, often referred to as school resource officers, have been the source of heated discussions in area districts of late, particularly in Madison, where protesters accompanied votes this year and the new agreement allows the district to remove an officer from one of the schools next school year. In Oregon, the school board voted down a proposed contract that would have provided for an assault rifle to be stored on campus.