Schools may add third police officer

Mary Bailey
Community Editor

When they meet this Thursday, April 18, the Forest Lake School Board members will consider increasing the number of school resource officers from two to three.

Jon Glader serves as the school resource officer to the Forest Lake High School. Maryrose Warke is the school resource officer for the two junior highs and the alternative learning center.

Both are members of the Forest Lake Police Department. Through a joint powers agreement, a two-year contract that spells out the officers’ roles, responsibilities, pay and scheduling, the school district pays the city for their services.

The high school position is year-round. Glader has an office at the school and a squad car. The annual cost for his services is $104,000.

The junior high position is nine months, with an office in each location and a squad car. The school district pays three-fourths of the $97,000 annual cost.

Forest Lake Captain Greg Weiss said the junior high officer is “stretched really thin.” In addition to providing more support to the junior highs, adding a third nine-month officer would also give the elementary schools more security coverage. Currently, elementary students interact with police officers mainly for drug education.

Weiss said the police department and school district have a good working relationship, and from the superintendent on down, the school staff are professional and caring.

“Our biggest mission is safety and security for the kids,” he said, “from kindergarten all the way up.”

The idea of adding a third officer has been talked about for a couple years. Now, Weiss said, national events have pushed this to the  forefront.

A third school resource officer for the school district would be hired by the city. Weiss said the police force does not have an officer available to take on the new post.