Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moscow School District eliminated one of its two school resource officer positions because of budgetary concerns.

That should continue to be the case pending Moscow City Council approval on a renewed contract for one school resource officer.

The Moscow Public Works and Finance Committee discussed this issue Monday at City Hall.

City Supervisor Gary Riedner said the school district approached city officials several years ago with a proposal to split the cost of having two school resource officers. The school district has employed a school resource officer for more than 18 years. The current school resource officer is Officer Rick Whitmore.

School resource officers patrol the schools in the district, give educational presentations to the students and serve as a liaison between the police department and the school district.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, budgets were affected and Moscow School District Superintendent Greg Bailey requested the district go back to having only one school resource officer on staff.

“After that, just the attrition in the police department, we were able to go back down to a single school resource officer without having to reassign or lay anybody off,” Riedner said.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry said the contract for that school resource officer ends this month, which is why he approached the Public Works and Finance Committee about renewing it. The city and school district would split the cost of the contract.

Riedner said Bailey may explore hiring a second school resource officer when budgets stabilize post-COVID-19.

“But right now, this is a way to keep the program going,” Riedner said. “They really enjoy the program. I think it benefits them a lot. So, it’s been a good deal for both the school district and the city.”

The Public Works and Finance Committee recommends the City Council approve the contract, which starts at a total cost of $99,828.

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