Possibly, but grant application deadline is fast approaching

    Crookston City Administrator Shannon Stassen and Police Chief Paul Biermaier have had discussions about the possibility of bringing back the School Resource Officer to Crookston Public Schools and provided information to the City Council Ways & Means Committee this week. Stassen says there is a grant available, but the council would have to make a swift decision on whether or not to apply before the July deadline.

    Biermaier said he has spoken with Crookston Public School Superintendent Chris Bates and Highland Elementary School Principal Chris Trostad, and that the topic has been mentioned at a recent School Board meeting.

    “Our history goes back to about the year 2000,” explained Biermaier. “We stopped because of funding on both sides.”

    “It’s not likely we would get a grant the first time around, but if we wait it might be a few years,” he added.

    If the city applied for the grant that would fund 75 percent of the roughly $75,000 for an entry level officer’s annual salary and benefits and they were approved, it would only be good for three years. After that, the city and school would be responsible. Stassen said that there is still interest in funding for both sides if they don’t get the grant.

    Ward 3 council member Clayton Briggs is a former school resource officer and mentioned that he gained a rapport with the students he interacted with and that being present allowed for “students to trust you and come to you” with personal things about school and home life.  

    “I think they feel safer and have someone to talk to,” added Briggs. “It takes a lot of burden off the police department and is definitely something that would improve our status with the schools.”

    Mayor Wayne Melbye asked Stassen and Biermaier if it was their recommendation that they apply for the grant and wait and see, or to jump right in with the process of implementing a school resource officer. Biermaier said that the grant is due July 10 and that he had talked with City Finance Director Angel Weasner about getting it done in time. Biermaier added that the officer would be utilized during the year at various events like Night to Unite and the Community Halloween Party, and could help with coverage for vacation and sick leave.