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Resource officer post might return

April 03, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Officials are working to return a school resource officer to Jefferson High School.

The last time a school resource officer - a police officer at a school - was assigned to the school was about eight years ago, Principal Sheri Hoff said.

Hoff said she believes funding and other staffing needs at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department were the reasons the program ended.

The officer who was assigned to the school at the time, Tom Hansen of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, said much of his time was spent talking with students and their parents to address problems before they became worse.

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School officials said a common problem at the school at that time was students skipping class and being tardy.

Hansen sometimes dropped by the boys bathroom looking for students trying to sneak a cigarette or cruised the halls looking for students skipping class.

Hoff said Sunday that skipping class continues to be a problem at the school along Flowing Springs Road. Students sometimes skip class and loiter in the Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., area, she said.

Officials want a school resource officer to be assigned to Jefferson High School and the nearby Ninth Grade Complex.

Last week, the Jefferson County Commission approved seeking $28,000 in state funds for the position through the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, Commissioner Dale Manuel said.

The proposal would call for the rest of the cost of the position - about $22,000 - to be paid by the school system, Hoff said.

The officer, who is now being referred to as a "prevention resource officer," would also be prepared to help the school deal with possible issues related to gang activity as gangs spread from more-populated areas to the east, Hoff said.

If funding is approved for the position, Hoff said she hopes the officer can be in place for the beginning of the next school year in August.

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