La Plata County commissioners on Tuesday kicked in money from reserves to hire a deputy sheriff for courthouse security.
The action allows the Sheriff’s Office school-resource officer to return full-time to the education beat. The position was reduced to half-time about six months ago when deputies began ramping up security at the courthouse, including installing a single-entry security post last month at the courthouse.
Now, $54,735 will be transferred from the county’s general contingency fund to the Sheriff’s Office Special Services Division.
In the future, the $100,000 annual cost – salary, benefits and equipment – of a school-resource officer will be split 50-50 with Durango School District 9-R.
School district Superintendant Daniel Snowberger said he supports strong ties between schools and their resource officers.
District 9-R is the only one of seven districts in which he’s worked not to share the cost of a resource officer, Snowberger said.
The district has four full-time school-resource officers. The sheriff’s lone resource officer covers Escalante Middle School and Animas Valley, Sunnyside, Fort Lewis Mesa and Florida Mesa elementary schools.
A school-resource officer works part-time through the summer on recreational programs.
Sheriff’s Capt. Garrett Valencia said he will begin the process to find a new security officer for the courthouse. It should be a transfer from the detention center, which is an entry-level position for deputies.