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Scott County votes to apply for one-year SRO grant

Holly Viers • Aug 6, 2018 at 3:30 PM

GATE CITY — A new school resource officer or school security officer might be coming to Scott County later this year.

The Board of Supervisors voted on Wednesday to apply for a state grant, which would fund one or more of these positions for a full year.

About the grant

County Administrator Freda Starnes said the grant is a one-time award that would run through September of next year.

Funds are provided by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and can be used for new school resource officer (SRO) and school security officer (SSO) positions.

Concerns

Starnes expressed concern that if the county’s grant application is approved, funds would be guaranteed only for one year, depending on whether state funds remain available.

“(After that), someone would have to pick up the cost for that officer to continue their job,” Starnes said, “or we would lose that position.”

Starnes added that there was a similar grant opportunity offered earlier this year that guaranteed funds for four years, but the deadline to apply has already passed.

BOS decision

Members of the BOS agreed that an SRO or SSO would be useful, especially if the officer could oversee a drug prevention program in the county’s schools.

Some members didn’t see a problem with the one-year funding guarantee, adding that it would be a good opportunity for a new officer to gain experience. Others expressed reservations, noting that training a new officer would take up three to four months of the one-year grant period.

In the end, the BOS unanimously voted to apply for the grant, under the condition that the county could later reject the grant if it decided against it at a later date.

“I’m definitely interested in it,” said Supervisor Chad Hood, “even if it is just for a year.”

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