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Published: Friday, 10/11/2013

Police officer may be coming to Perrysburg High School

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A police officer may be working in Perrysburg High School and possibly elsewhere in the district starting in January.

At a Perrysburg City Council service-safety committee meeting this week, Perrysburg Superintendent Tom Hosler and Perrysburg Police Chief Daniel Paez made a presentation to try to get an additional police officer on the force to assist with the schools.

"It will be for prevention," Chief Paez said Thursday. "Obviously, if there was a violation of the law, we'd enforce it, but we're not looking to be arresting students but [instead to] have ongoing communication with students to make them aware of things that can get them in trouble."

Some examples, Chief Paez said, was cyber-bullying, and sexting being illegal, both activities which teenagers engage in.

He said the primary focus of the school resource officer would be to interact with the staff and students with these kind of problems, including distracted driving and preventing drug and alcohol abuse.

The council committee would first need to recommend the new officer for next year's budget at a cost of $75,600 for salary and benefits. Mr. Hosler said the district would pay 67 to 69 percent of that cost, which is the percentage of time the officer would have allocated to Perrysburg Schools, possibly coming from district revenue from the state's casinos. Then, the city council would need to approve it and the school board would need to agree to pay its share.

Mr. Hosler said he supports having a student resource officer. When he was a superintendent in Michigan, he said, a student told an officer in the junior high building about worrying about a friend meeting an older online friend in person. The officer contacted the family and found out it was a 52-year old male trying to meet the student.

"The relationship the officer builds with students is huge," Mr. Hosler said. "We want the officer to be seen everyday by students, and be able to relate to the everyday student environment."

The officer would also help with the A.L.I.C.E. emergency response training. The officer would work the schools to having the best proactive response to a possible threat, Mr. Hosler said.

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Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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