Brandywine entering negotiations with Berrien County Sheriff’s Office for school resource officer

NILES – Brandywine School District is taking the next steps in hiring a resource officer for their K-12 schools.

On Monday, the Brandywine School Board approved a motion to allow the district’s Superintendent Karen Weimer to go into contract negotiations with Berrien County Sheriff’s Office.

“This approval doesn’t mean we are hiring a resource officer. This is just the next step of the process.” Weimer said

The proposal for a school resource officer still needs to be approved by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners.

If approved, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office will hire the officer, but the Brandywine School Board will have input on the hiring.

The officer will have school resource officer training. With this training, the officer will be trained for what happens in a school environment.

“We see the resource office as a positive resource for not only students and staff but for the community,” Weimer said. “This will be someone that students see every day, and we hope can help students with cyberbullying, drug and alcohol abuse.”

During the meeting the school board allowed Middle School/High School principal Travis Walker to talk about his experience with a resource officer at Constantine.

“Our officer was a huge benefit to our school and community,” Walker said. “Our officer allowed our staff and me to really focus on the instructional part of school.”

Funding for the resource officer will be paid 70 percent by Brandywine schools and 30 percent by Niles Township. The total cost of the officer would be $135,000. Brandywine will pay for the officer with grant money.

“We look at our funds for the get few years and see this as a good time to hire a resource officer,” Weimer said. “We want this officer long-term not just for one year — we are hoping to start with a three-year contract.”

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