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SACS’ request for officer approved

December 21, 2018 GMT

Southwest Allen County Schools will be getting a new resource officer, thanks to a unanimous vote by the Allen County Council on Thursday. 

The Allen County Sheriff’s Department will also add a supervisor to oversee the 10 resource officers serving Allen County schools and towns. There are 133 officers in the entire department. 

“The school resource officer is being requested by Southwest Allen County Schools because the program is so successful,” Chief Deputy Charlie Edwards said. “It comes with a 70-30 pay split.”

The supervisor position is being requested because “it’s become a division in itself,” Edwards said, describing it as a positive program that the schools love. 

“The fact that the supervisor will be responsible for making all the meetings at all the districts, including Fort Wayne Community Schools,” Edwards said. “It’s a demanding job, I know the traffic division has been covering for it. But with the increase in calls of service because the population is growing so fast in the unincorporated areas, it’s been a strain.” 

Resource officers are currently overseen by the first-shift traffic command staff, Edwards said.

The supervisor position will be funded by the county, with no reimbursement from area schools. Councilman Tom Harris, R-2nd, said there should be a state-level mechanism put in place to fund the oversight necessary to support the resource officers. He challenged the sheriff’s department to figure out a way to secure reimbursement for the supervisor position.

“At some point, as the state continues to provide those funds to the school systems, maybe the schools pick up their own process,” Harris said. “At some point, the state either needs to reimburse us or the schools for this infrastructure, or we need to think about a different model.”

Councilman Ken Fries, R-at large, Allen County’s former sheriff, said the council should expect to see requests for more officers in the coming years. There are four officers patrolling third shift in the county with the largest geographic area in the state, Fries added.  

“The population continues to grow,” Fries said. “Whether its in the city or the county, it’s all in Allen County, so we should be prepared for that.”