By Michael Howell
The Town of Stevensville received notice last week from Attorney General Eric Holder’s office that it was awarded a 2013 COPS Hiring Program (CHP) grant that will fund a School Resource Officer (SRO) position in the Stevensville School District. The $112,335 grant will fund the position for three years and the Town must commit to funding the position for at least another year after that using its own funds. The grant match requirement of $37,445 will be split between the Town of Stevensville and the School District.
Mayor Gene Mim Mack said that after the school shooting in Connecticut, he and Stevensville Police Chief James Marble contacted Stevensville School Superintendent Dave Whitesell, offering any support or assistance the school required, and the need for an SRO in the school was identified. The mayor and chief then successfully pursued the CHP grant.
According to Mim Mack, the Town was one of 141 communities in the nation and one of only two in Montana to receive CHP funding this year.
“School Resource Officers provide a chance for students to get to know and interact with law enforcement on a personal level,” said Mim Mack. “We hope this position will encourage students to deal with challenges early, avoiding crisis situations, resulting in safer schools and a safer community.”
The Town hopes to fill the position in the next 45 days.