HUMBOLDT - The city of Humboldt will apply for a grant to hire an additional police officer if the city gets the backing of the Humboldt Community School Board.
City Administrator Lorie Bennett informed the Humboldt City Council of the possible grant at Monday's regular council meeting.
The COPS Hiring Recovery Program grant is through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, part of the U.S. Department of Justice.
"The school district has approached the police chief and then me about their evaluation that came from the Department of Education as how it related to bullying and fighting within the district," Bennett said. The district was asked in the evaluation to address the problem a little more, she said.
One idea of school administration is to create a school resource officer position. The district "asked the chief if there would be any ability for the city to do this within our current budget," Bennett said. The city would not be able to afford another officer, she said.
School administrators suggested applying for a COPS grant.
"The grant would provide 100 percent funding for entry-level salaries and benefits for three years," Bennett said.
"The only criteria is that the city keep that position for four years," Bennett said.
In the fourth year the city would be responsible for funding the position.
"(Police Chief Matt Dominick) and I have met with the superintendent, principal and assistant principal, and they are receptive to a 75-25 percent split on the position to pay for that fourth year, and any other additional costs that may come during the first three years," Bennett said.
"They have at-risk funds that they are willing to put forth to this position," Bennett said of the school district.
City Councilman Jim Vermeer said outside the school year, the officer could be used by the city.
"I think it is a good idea, but I don't think that the school board has even been really advised of this, so therefore even if we get an approval off the ground, the school board may not approve doing this project," said City Councilman LeRoy Jorgensen.
Bennett said the school administration has provided information to the school board, which will consider the application at its work session next Monday.
"We will not submit it until the school board has had time to talk about it," Bennett said.
The application deadline is April 14.
Contact Robert Wolf at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org