Resource officer deal still pending in Brooke County | News, Sports, Jobs


WELLSBURG — Plans to place Brooke County sheriff’s deputies as resource officers in local schools are still pending.

The Brooke County Commission called a special meeting on Friday morning to consider a deal for the officers, but he hadn’t reached their office in time for the meeting. Commissioners said they remained hopeful a deal could be reached.

Brooke County Attorney Joseph Barki, counsel for the commission, said he and other county officials met with school officials and their attorneys for about four and a half hours to discuss the matter.

Barki said he walked away from the meeting “believing that we had a general framework” for the deal while leaving his final draft in the hands of Bowles Rice’s attorneys who represent the school board.

Brooke County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Crook – who was called to comment – said the decision was made to first present the agreement to the school board at its next regular meeting.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at its office at 1201 Pleasant Ave.

Barki said he plans to attend the meeting so he can answer any questions the school board may have.

He said school board attorneys were brought in to prepare the final draft to ensure it complied with policies set by the state school board.

Barki said that if approved, the deal would involve the school district contributing $80,000 for each of the three officers.

He said the figure comes to 76% of the county’s cost for each, including salaries, equipment and other expenses, and reflects the time they would spend in schools each year.

Barki said that pending school board and commission approval, the three officers would begin their school assignments. “as soon as possible.”

County Sheriff Rich Beatty said the three deputies sought for the positions had previously received the required training and “are ready to go.”

The county commissioners agreed to put the agreement on the agenda for their next regular meeting so that it could be considered then.

The meeting will be held Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at the county courthouse.

Commission Chairman AJ Thomas warned that the three will need time beforehand to consider it.

Barki said the tentative agreement is for five years, with automatic renewal for each of those years. He said there had been concerns about whether the council could strike a deal for more than a year, but appeared to have been resolved.

Barki said there needs to be a clause allowing either party to end it while adding that he hopes that doesn’t happen given how long the two have been together. to negotiate it.

Plans called for a deputy to be placed in each school using funds from the school district’s five-year operating tax, which was approved by voters in 2019. A shortfall from the tax led officials to l school to apply for a contribution from the county commission. .

But the commissioners said they could not afford them and, citing a lack of funds, cut the items from their budget. Earlier this week, they authorized County Coordinator Adrienne Ward to apply for a grant to fund officers in the future.

Since the deputies were laid off, the school board has employed a former sheriff’s deputy and resource officer to serve at Brooke High School and supervise a Wellsburg officer serving at Brooke Middle School, under a separate agreement. with the city, and security guards hired for other schools.

Barki said that in working for the tentative agreement, there was “A lot of hurdles to jump through and a lot of hurdles to overcome.”

He said he believed everyone involved in Tuesday afternoon’s negotiations had made an effort to resolve them so both groups could move forward.

(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])

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