City votes to use part-time officers in schools

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Vote is contingent upon Board of Education’s approval

By Shannon Brock

The Taylorsville City Commission voted unanimously last Tuesday to utilize its part-time Taylorsville Police officer to fill the need of a school resource officer with Spencer County Schools.
The agreement is subject to approval by the Spencer County Board of Education.
The city, through Taylorsville Police Chief Toby Lewis, had been in discussions with the school board about hiring an additional full-time officer to fill the position, and on Tuesday, Lewis presented an approximate cost proposal of hiring a full-time officer.
With the school board agreeing to cover the cost of the 172 working days in a school year, Lewis estimated the city’s cost to be approximately $13,336.08, broken down as follows:
•$9,152, based on a $13 hourly rate at 704 hours (88 days)
•$3,441.16, for retirement
•$742.92, for insurance
“[The school district is] very much in tune to wanting to move forward with a project of this nature,” Lewis said.
Superintendent Chuck Adams had asked that, if a new officer was hired specifically for the position, he would be able to sit in on the interview process, Lewis said.
Lewis also told the commission Tuesday night that his part-time deputies — Kenneth Bledsoe, Damon Jewell and Kevin Mills — had volunteered to take on the task of jointly providing the school district with several part-time school resource officers.
The duties would primarily be split between Bledsoe and Jewell, Lewis said, because Mills’ time is utilized supervising the Class D felons.
Commissioner Jack Proctor asked Lewis if the school district had considered arming its staff members.
“I don’t want to speak for [Adams], but he’s not into arming staff,” Lewis said.
Commissioner Ellen Redmon said she had talked to several students in the school district at the middle school level who said they would love to see an officer in their school to help cut back on fights and altercations.
“We’ve got to protect the kids that don’t want the fights,” Redmon said. “I think it’s a win-win.”
Mayor Don Pay asked if there would be an increased liability on the city if it agreed to provide school resource officers.
Lewis explained that the liability is already there, explaining that he responded to the schools four different times last Tuesday and is in the schools on a regular basis.
“I make a motion we use the part-time officers to fill the resource positions,” Commission Beverly Ingram said, adding that the motion was subject to the school board’s approval.
The motion was seconded by Commissioner Kathy Spears and passed unanimously.
Lewis explained that the officers would continuing submitting time sheets to the city as they already do and that the portion of their hours spent in the schools would be billed to the schools.
Spears noted that the commission was committed to providing the resource officers, but that it can only commit for so long.
“We cannot commit beyond our term,” Spears said. “Does [Adams] realize that?”
“He does realize that,” Lewis said.

In other business, the city agreed to remove and store the benches, light posts and planters from the sidewalk in front of the buildings located at 14, 16, 20, 22 and 30 W. Main St. while Mike Driscoll and Kerry Edwards, who purchased the buildings, worked to tear them down.
Mayor Pay, apparently not privy to that information before Tuesday night, appeared taken by surprise.
“That will leave a big hole in the city,” Pay said.
Ingram said she had no problem with what Driscoll was doing.
Public Works Director Harold Compton said he wasn’t aware of Driscoll’s plans, but was told whatever was put back would “match downtown.”
Proctor said he would like to talk with Driscoll about the project.
“I want to know what he’s doing,” Proctor said, adding that the city should get in touch with Driscoll to see what his plans are, let him know the city’s curiosity is up and possibly extend an offer to help.