City, school district extend School Resource Officer agreement to 2024

Mike Christopherson

The City of Crookston and Crookston School District have agreed to a deal that will keep a School Resource Officer (SRO) in Crookston Public Schools until the end of the 2024 school year.

Crookston Police officer Don Rasicot has been the SRO for several years. He spends most of his time at Crookston High School, but spends time at Highland and Washington schools as well. During the summer when school is not in session, Rasicot returns to CPD patrol officer duties, and serves each year as the lead organizer of Night to Unite, which will move from its traditional Central Park location in early August to the University of Minnesota Crookston campus.

The SRO is a City employee, but the City and School District each pay half of the position’s salary and benefits. Total base salary and benefits in 2021 are $91,767, in 2022 the total will be $94,061, in 2023 the total will be $96,412, and in 2024 the total base salary and benefits will be $98,823. In 2021, the school district’s share of the cost is $45,883.

As per the agreement between the City and School District, the SRO is designated a “school official” but not an actual school “disciplinarian.” School principals may alert to the SRO to certain activities in which they think the SRO needs to intervene in the position’s role as the district’s “law enforcement unit.”

“We’re happy to continue with this arrangement with the district,” CPD Chief Paul Biermaier said, “which has worked well for both parties.”

When the SRO position was first launched in Crookston, the City and School District were eligible for and received federal COPS grant funds to help cover the cost. But Biermaier says that since the SRO program already exists in Crookston, it’s not eligible for any similar federal grants.

Mayor Dale Stainbrook said he’s a fan of the SRO program.

“I think it’s a great arrangement,” he said. “ I’m sure (School District Superintendent Jeremy Olson) appreciates it, and the parents.”