Police Chief pitches to aldermen for other half of funding for school resource officers

Police Chief Keith Mello is halfway toward getting the school resource officers he wants to hire to work in the school system next school year. He hopes to move closer toward his goal tonight when he talks before the Board of Aldermen.

The Board of Education voted 7-3 last week to support the school resource, or SRO, program. The board then voted 8-2 in favor of transferring $150,000 from anticipated savings in the schools’ energy account this year to pay for the SROs next year.

The $150,000 represents half the expected cost of four school resource officers.

Tonight (Monday), Mello will tell the Board of Aldermen where he thinks the other half can be found, and then he will have to wait until next week to see if they approve four new positions for SROs in the city budget. The aldermen are expected to vote on that May 16 during budget discussions at City Hall. It will take a two-thirds vote of the board to add the positions.

“This year the police department will generate approximately $60,000 in new revenues from two initiatives,” Mello said. “Further, the department and the police union have reached an agreement that will allow us to generate approximately $35,000 each year from the private duty surcharge fee. In fiscal year 2015, we will cut $30,000 for COPSS Program funding from the police budget. As a result, there will be approximately $125,000 in new revenues and savings that can be directed to the program. These revenues are in addition to the approximately $150,000 in revenues collected by the department each year.”

Mello said other efficiencies will produce even more surplus.

“In the end, I believe there will be sufficient sustainable revenues and savings to fund this program without any impact on the budget,” Mello said.

Tonight's meeting at Milford City Hall will start at 7:30 p.m.

The regular meeting of the board also includes discussion about a new fence at the Junior Major League's field behind the library, several board appointments and other issues.