JPD staffing issues could affect school resource officers

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The Joplin Police Department’s staffing issues could affect school resource officers at the beginning of next school year.

“I think losing the resource officers would be very very detrimental,” says Dusty Vangilder.

The Joplin Police Department may be forced to re-assign a couple of the Joplin School District’s 4 resource officers to fill other empty spots in the department.

“Ideally we’d be at the point that we didn’t have to remove any of the SRO’s however that would be an option for us and something that we’d have to evaluate closer to school starting,” says Chief Matt Stewart.

If more officers aren’t hired soon, Joplin police could have 28 open positions at the beginning of next school year.

“I’m worried that we will lose our resources officers because they are more than just security for the building,” says Dusty Vangilder.

If JPD can’t afford to keep the officers in schools… The district can’t afford to help them out.

“I can tell you right now there is no line item budget item that has been prepared to cover the extra salary expenses,” says Melinda Moss.

While keeping students safe remains a top priority-

“Regardless of who’s here or what were doing that we’re always on the lookout for the safety and security for our students,” says Moss.

It’s not just about that — these officers get to know the kids.

“Kids that build those relationships with those officers, I think they look at the police in a whole different light and that’s why I think losing those resources officers would be detrimental,” says Dusty Vangilder.

Joplin city council assured the department they’re working diligently to find a solution for higher pay for officers. They’re expected to discuss plans at the May 21st work session.

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