The Kauai Police Department was recently awarded $375,000 in federal funds to place officers in three public middle schools.
Officers could be placed in Kapa’a Middle, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle and Waimea Canyon schools by the start of the 2003-04 school year, according to a KPD spokesman.
There are officers now serving in Waimea High, Kaua’i High and Kapa’a High schools.
Technically, new positions have to be created for the middle-school officers, and staffing the positions will depend on availability of trained officers, the KPD spokesman said.
Officers were placed in the high schools within six months of receipt of an earlier federal grant, because of the timing of the graduation of a large recruit class.
The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) In Schools program provides a maximum of $125,000 for the salary and benefits of each in-school officer for three years.
The COPS program also provides school safety training for the officer and an administrator from the school where the officer will be assigned.
The KPD grant, and a $750,000 grant to hire six full-time officers for various Big Island public schools, is part of a series of nationwide grants totaling $122.7 million to add 1,052 additional law enforcement officers to walk beats in the nation’s schools.
The latest grants, announced earlier this month, were awarded to 501 law enforcement agencies in 47 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Community policing officers perform a variety of functions within the schools, including teaching crime-prevention and substance-abuse classes, mentoring troubled students, and building respect between law enforcement and students.
School resource officers (SROs), as the officers in the schools are called, combine the functions of law enforcement and education.
“Law enforcement, educators, students and parents all want our schools to be safe and secure environments that are conducive to learning,” said Carl R. Peed, COPS director.
“SROs are an integral part of establishing and maintaining such an environment,” he said.
Including the most recent grants, the COPS In Schools program has provided more than $670 million to fund and train over 5900 SROs.