It could take several years for the Madison City School District to get the six new schools resource officers they're requesting from the city and police department.
The district said they have the money right now to pay for them, but there are a lot of fine details that need to be worked out between the district, the city, and the police department. They want the new SRO's so they can have an officer at every school. Right now they have 9 total with some rotating between schools in the district.
The Madison Police Department said they cannot give the district the six new officers all at once, because that would take too many officers away from patrolling Madison. Giving all six officers at one time would also be hard, because the department would need to hire six new officers to take the positions of the ones taken off the street. That process typically takes close to a year between the hiring and all of their training.
Police Chief David Jernigan said it would be a good idea to phase in the new SRO's over a three year period so it doesn't strain the departments hiring all at one time.
The Superintendent of Madison City Schools said they are actively working with the city and the department to work out exactly how they'll get more SRO's and he said it might have been wishful thinking when he said, at the end of last school year, the district would have liked to have all six officers ready for this fall. "I don't know if its realistic for them to do that. We're not asking them to do that, but we're sayin for the future we want to add six," said Superintendent Robby Parker.
There are other factors at play as well.
On top of what the district pays for the officers the City of Madison would also have to pay for police cars, benefits, and other things for the SRO's.
All of that needs to be hashed out in the budget.
WAAY 31 is going to be following this story closely as the City of Madison finalizes their budget for 2019, which might have an impact on how soon new SRO's will get in to schools.