School board approves agreement with sheriff’s office for SRO’s


By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

A local law enforcement agency will continue to provide security services for the South-Western City Schools District.

At its meeting on Sept. 11, the board of education unanimously approved a new agreement with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to provide security services at Franklin Heights and Westland High School.

Under the terms of the agreement, the district will pay the department approximately $276,000 for the use of two deputies – or one at each high school – for the remainder of the 2023-2024 school year.

Franklin Heights High School Principal Tim Donahue said the importance of the district having that partnership with their local law enforcement departments cannot be understated.

“School Resource Officers (SRO’s) continue to be an invaluable resource to students and staff in our four high schools,” said Donahue in a written statement. “When we are able to integrate law enforcement partners into our high school day, it helps to build positive connections with students they can rely on for life. Whether it be an emergency or sharing a success with an SRO at lunch, this vital school-community partnership helps students better know a friendly face in their community they can go to for support.”

Deputy Dan Fahy has been the school resource officer at Franklin Heights for a little more than half-a-decade. He recently received a promotion at the department and will not be returning as the SRO this school year. Donahue said that he was “an extension” of the Golden Falcon staff, one who committed himself to after-school relationship building activities such as assisting with Special Olympics Buddy Ball games and visiting with students cheering on student-athletes at athletics contests.

He said while his presence will be missed at the school, the newly posted deputy will still be a reliable source to students and staff inside and outside of the building.

“While we will once again have a new SRO for the 2023-2024 school year, we know students will be able to rely on that school-community partnership with our new deputy in the same capacity they got to know and appreciate Deputy Fahy in.”

In addition to providing protection for the building premises, the resource officers are required to investigate and document unruly, delinquent, and criminal acts within the school and neighborhood; participate in classroom and school assemblies; serve as a liaison with neighborhood businesses and residents in school related problems; and provide early detection of deviant behaviors in students.

An additional objective of their role will be to encourage students to stay and attend school.
The district’s agreement with the county is renewed on an annual basis. The Grove City Division of Police provides school resource officers at Central Crossing and Grove City High Schools. The city of Grove City provides the funding for the resource officers to be stationed at the schools rather than the district.

Board members Chris Boso and Anthony Caldwell praised both the city of Grove City and the local law enforcement agencies for their partnership and their commitment to all of their schools.

“The district and the city of Grove City have a strong working relationship that has helped support each other over the years,” said Boso. “This is just one other example of the strong working relationship with the city of Grove City.”

“I appreciate the partnership that we have with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Grove City Police Department,” said board president Caldwell. “The safety and security of our kids is super important and having those folks there when we need them is really important and we appreciate those partnerships.”

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