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Valley News Dispatch

Deer Lakes mulls officer at board meetings

| Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, 11:55 p.m.

The Deer Lakes School Board is considering paying a West Deer police officer a minimum of $110 to keep the peace at school board meetings.

The board has scheduled 20 meetings for 2017. At that rate, the move will cost district taxpayers a minimum of $2,200. The officer will be guaranteed to be paid for two hours but will receive more if the meetings run longer than two hours.

The school board is expected to vote on the move Tuesday.

The discussion didn't stem from a specific incident, altercation or circumstance from a board meeting, said James Cromie, Deer Lakes spokesman, but is something that officials believe to be a “best practice.”

“(Deer Lakes) is always doing things to refine what the best practices are, and this is right in line with that,” said.

“Schools are really unique places,” Cromie said. “They are facilities that are locked down during the day for security reasons and then, at night, they are like community centers and are really wide open.”

The officer's presence would be in addition to the current practice of having three township police officers within the district during school hours. Township police patrol at all Deer Lakes sporting events.

“We already have existing relationships with those police officers so it's really something very simple,” Cromie said. “My guess is it would likely be those school resource officers that would stay after school hours.”

The idea stems from a conversation between the police department and the Deer Lakes administration. Township police are supportive of the idea, Cromie said.

Calls made after the meeting to the West Deer police Chief Jon Lape and Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey Fleming were not returned late Tuesday.

Christine Manganas is a freelance writer. Staff writer Brian Rittmeyer contributed.

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