St. Charles County schools will have new school resource officers

St. Charles County Council approved the expenditure of $2.2 million for the 14 new officer stations and all of their law enforcement equipment.

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — Student Resource Officers are the first line of defense against violence in our schools.

As the new school year begins for students in St. Charles County, county officials are investing in safety and building relationships between students and law enforcement.

On the inside Bryan College, teachers are tidying up and counting the days until they welcome students back. Sophomore Resource Officer Shawn Birdsong spends the last few days before the new school year walking the halls and checking doors.

“We have a diverse group of kids here who go to school, so everyone’s background is a little different,” Birdsong said.

St. Charles County officials spend $2.2 million in ARPA funding – the US Bailout Act – create 14 new OAR positions by hiring more agents.

Kurt Frisz is the chief of the St. Charles County Police Department.

“I think it’s a good use of the money because school safety is our top priority,” Frisz said. “And that will put school resource officers in every school in unincorporated St. Charles County, which will complement what we’re already doing.”

Currently, nine of the 23 public schools in St. Charles County have Student Resource Officers. Using ARPA funding will place an SRO in each of them.

“Our SROs undergo very focused active shooter training. We call it MACTAC (Multi-Attack Counter Terrorism Action Capability), but they do it for single officer response. If they’re in the school building and there’s an intruder, and there’s an event like that, they have to go. They must act. So they get very focused training before they go back to school,” Frisz said.

Bryan Middle principal Jeff Gruener said school resource officers are part of security and public relations.

“Since we are now able to have ORS in elementary buildings, I agree that their first exposure to law enforcement will most likely be this ORS,” Gruener said.

After 18 years on the street, Birdsong treads a new beat, building safety, security and relationships.

After its first year, Birdsong was asked what makes a good SRO.

“Be balanced, humble and able to talk with people,” Birdsong said. “We saw a lot of kids graduating, thanking us, and even asking us to attend their graduations. So it’s very humiliating.

St. Charles County Council approved the expenditure of $2.2 million for the 14 new officer stations and all of their law enforcement equipment, including patrol cars, firearms and body cameras.

Chief Frisz said these new recruits will start as street patrollers. New SRO positions will likely be filled by veterans. The entry-level salary for officers is just over $58,000 per year.

To apply for one of these officer positions, go to the jobs section of the St. Charles County website.

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