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Council approves SRO agreement with school district

The school resource officer program the City of Sunnyside and the Sunnyside School District have partnered in for several years has been a huge success. That notable partnership will continue.

The Sunnyside City Council Monday night approved its portion of the school resource officer contract for the upcoming school year. The Sunnyside School Board is scheduled to address the issue later this month at its regular board meeting.

The school resource officers are paid members of the Sunnyside Police Department, who spend their shifts working in the schools. The two school resource officers in Sunnyside are Sgt. Jim Rivard and Officer Chico Rodriguez.

"They build relationships with the students," said Sunnyside Police Chief Ed Radder of the school resource officers. "They also interact with staff."

In the past, the school district and the city have been able to offset a majority of the expenses through grants. This year, the two sides will be splitting the cost of the officers' salaries evenly.

The amount of the contract for the two school resource officers for the coming year is estimated to be $168,461, which includes salaries and benefits. Both the school district and the city will pay $84,230 each.

Councilman Bruce Ricks asked if the new school resource officer contract will force the Council to make a budget adjustment later in the year. Radder said the city and the school district have two different budget cycles because each side's fiscal year ends at different times. Radder said the school district has been very accommodating to wanting to work within the confines of the city's budget cycle to pay for the two positions.

The school resource officer program has been in Sunnyside since 2001.

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