Dothan could be ready to boost its school resource officers if the city receives a $600,000 federal grant to fund five additional positions for a period of at least three years.
The Dothan City Commission is set to approve applying for a Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant that would fund 75 percent of the cost of putting five SROs on the force for three years. The city would fund 25 percent of the cost and would be required under the terms of the grant to fully fund all five officer positions for at least one additional year.
The vote is part of Tuesday’s regular city commission meeting.
If received, the federal portion of the grant would be $604,896 and the portion funded by the city would be $201,785. Documents submitted to the Dothan City Commission by Police Chief Greg Benton also indicate the city would be responsible for training, vehicles and equipment for the officers totaling $260,015 for all of the funded positions.
According to a city staff report, the federal COPS grant program is giving additional consideration to applicants who request school resource officers.
According to the most recent information available, Dothan has eight school resource officers. Two officers are allocated to Dothan High School and one each to Northview High School, Beverlye Middle, Girard Middle, Carver Magnet, Honeysuckle Middle and PASS Academy. Officers are not located at elementary schools, but officers are assigned to those schools and required to visit that school at least once per week.
According to a 2012 story in the Dothan Eagle, officers responded to 779 calls for service at Dothan City Schools between August of 2011 and February of 2012. The SROs wrote 86 offense reports, made a felony arrest for unlawful prescription drug possession and 469 misdemeanor arrests.
The vote on applying for the COPS grant is part of a busy Dothan City Commission agenda Tuesday. Other items include:
» A public hearing on a $6 million bond issue for repairs and renovations to the Dothan Regional Airport as part of the incentives package for Commercial Jet, Inc. The hearing will be held near the beginning of the agenda, giving the public the opportunity to offer comments. The commission is set to vote on approving the bond issue after the public hearing.
» Renewing the existing 5 mills property tax assessment for Dothan property owners.
» Awarding a bid to replace the rigging at the Dothan Opera House and Dothan Civic Center.
» Approving/rejecting lobbying and/or economic development representation with two separate firms totaling $9,000 per month.
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