Council gets update on school resource officer

MARSHALL – The city of Marshall and Marshall Public Schools are working together to review the terms and guidelines for its school resource officer program, city officials said Tuesday night. Tuesday’s meeting of the Marshall City Council included an update on the program, after cuts to resource officer hours had been proposed.

In December, council members took action against a decision to reduce the number of hours the resource officer spent in the schools. Marshall Public Safety Director Rob Yant said the reduction was meant to be temporary, and help cover patrol duties while vacant police positions were filled. Council members had voted to change the officer’s schedule back, while Marshall Police, the city and the school district met to come up with other possible solutions for the staffing shortage.

In an update on Tuesday, Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said City Attorney Dennis Simpson had reviewed the agreement creating the resource officer position, as well as operating guidelines for the resource officer. Simpson’s opinion was that city staff didn’t violate the terms of the agreement in cutting back resource officer hours. However, the resource officer’s original hours were reinstated through the end of the school year, Martig said.

Martig said city, police and school officials have met more than once to review the terms of the School Resource Officer agreement and discuss the proposed schedule change. The most recent meeting was on Friday, he said. Martig also suggested that the school district be included in a city work session being planned for May or June. Joint ventures between the city and school district would be reviewed at the work session, so it would be an appropriate time to discuss possible updates or clarifications to the resource officer agreement, he said.

Earlier in the meeting, council member Glenn Bayerkohler had also clarified his decision to abstain from the first of two votes held on reinstating the school resource officer’s schedule. Bayerkohler said he felt uncomfortable making a decision on the matter without more information, but the question had already been called for that first vote and couldn’t be discussed further. When that vote failed, Bayerkohler made a second motion calling for the reinstatement of the resource officer schedule.

Later in the meeting, council members Mike Boedigheimer and Ellayne Conyers said they had both received complaints from Marshall residents about snow and ice removal in the city. Boedigheimer said some Marshall streets were still covered in ice several inches thick. Conyers said the residents who called her were concerned about unshoveled sidewalks as well.

Assistant City Engineer Shane Waterman said city crews are continuing to work on scraping ice from the streets. In the past couple of days, he said, they’ve made good progress.

“We’ve gotten complaints going both ways,” Waterman said – both from people concerned about icy streets and from residents upset with ice pushed into their driveways by plows.

Martig said the city engineering department keeps track of snow removal on sidewalks on a complaint basis.