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Funding continues to decrease for school resource officers

Updated: Monday, October 21 2013, 09:19 PM EDT

By Jon rudder
WHEELING, W.Va - Each year, funding for prevention resource officers from the federal government has been cut, forcing local school systems to find alternative ways to pay the officers or eliminate them altogether.

"In 2010,Wheeling received $115,000 of federal grant money for the prevention resource officer program. This year they received just $30,000, but the officers still remain in the schools as the school system continues to chip in keep them in place.

Ohio County Schools partners with the Wheeling Police Department to provide five prevention resource officers, but recently, federal grant money for them has dwindled.

"We have not been notified exactly why other than the fact that, you get the standard story of economic times are hard, the federal government is reducing grants not only in this particular field but across the board in almost everything they do," Deputy Chief Marty Kimball said.

With the decrease in funding, the burden now falls to taxpayers and the schools that utilize the resource officers, and the Ohio County School System has no plans of severing that relationship.

"All along throughout the application process, in working with the Board of Education and the city of Wheeling, we know that we want to make that commitment to have the officers in our schools to provide safety for our students," Ohio County Schools Superintendent Dr. Dianna Vargo said.

PROs provide a handful of functions in the school system, from teaching classes to handling minor discipline problems. Schools that use resource officers swear by them, but the only option is to find alternative ways to pay them.

"There are a lot of people who are vying for grant money across the country," Kimball said. "There are people who sit behind desks in Washington who decide whether to dole out X-numner  of dollars to Wheeling, W.Va., or Peoria, Ill., or wherever it may be applied for. So those are decisions that are taken completely out of our hands."

Kimball said the decrease in funding didn't necessarily come as a surprise and added that that he would expect that trend to continue next year.

Funding continues to decrease for school resource officers

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