ARPA to fund school resource officer program

Extra security, mentor/educate students, school personnel resource, and provide link between a child’s mental health needs and available resources

    COUNTY – The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, in partnership with the Harlan Community and Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton Schools, Myrtue Medical Center Behavioral Health and Southwest Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services, will implement a school resource officer program committed to handling school needs regarding law enforcement matters and mental health services.
    Beginning sometime in spring 2022, a deputy sheriff will be dedicated to work within the schools on a regular basis for staff, student and parent needs.  
    The deputy will be available to discuss matters with students and parents that may require law enforcement intervention, be a friendly face to students, mentor students, educate students on risky behaviors such as alcohol or substance abuse, provide security at school events and provide additional deputy services to Shelby County, to name a few.
    Costs for the program will be covered by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds as approved by the Shelby County Board of Supervisors November 16.  Estimated costs for three years of the program are $315,090.
    Shelby County Sheriff Neil Gross said the sheriff’s department can act as a valuable asset to bridge the gap between public safety and mental health services, especially those needed by adolescents.
    “Mental health has been an issue in our community for a long time,” said Gross, “and we only see it growing.”

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