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Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014

Wilson set to be school resource officer

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Former Lt. Mike Wilson used to visit Spencer Middle School as the community's Drug Abuse Resistance Education instructor. Now, he is set to return to Spencer schools as a part-time school resource officer in the middle and high school buildings.

Six members of Spencer City Council approved a joint agreement with the school district in which Wilson will be a school employee and reserve officer. The city will pay half of the estimated $18,000 -- or $25 per hour -- for the position through 2013, at which point payment for the service will be re-negotiated.

"I see it as a school employee and I really don't see the point of the city of Spencer funding this," said Councilman Ron Hanson, who cast the lone dissenting vote. "For that reason, I'm going to vote no. About four years ago, they had a school resource officer and the school board decided at that time, with budget cuts, that they didn't see it necessary to keep that position. Now, four years down the road, they're asking the city to kick in. If it's such an important situation, I would think they could come up with $8,000 themselves."

City Manager Bob Fagen clarified that the cost was also shared with the city at that time. Hanson countered that the individual was not a reserve officer, but was part of Spencer Police Department when school was not in session.

"This officer is going to spend the lion's share of the time, not the entire time, in school," Councilman Steve Bomgaars said. "But, these kids are not in school all the time. They're part of the community and I see this as a preventative thing and the officer can prevent so many things our officers will not have to deal with as a result of him being in the school. I just see this as a benefit, not only to the school, but to parents and all through the community. This is a win-win for the schools and all the community."

Spencer Police Chief Mark Lawson said the officer will be in the school to "be proactive, develop relationships with the high school and middle school students and, if there's a way for him to prevent something before it reaches my desk, that's what we're after."

While the officer will not be involved with DARE, Lawson added the class will now be offered to fifth-grade students and SPD is working on a plan to take the class to sixth-grade students who otherwise would not have it this coming school year.

In other business, the council:

* Approved a 30-year agreement with Spencer Municipal Utilities for the SPD to relocate to the SMU office at 712 Grand Ave., including joint use of the power plant building on the east side of the property. City Attorney Don Hemphill shared that the move will take place six months later than originally planned, and will cost the city more than requested for maintenance fees, but less than the estimated cost of renting a different building.

* Approved a resolution adopting sidewalk repair, reconstruction and construction policies, as was discussed during a Public Works Committee meeting on July 2.

* Learned from Fagen that the privately-funded Rose Retail Revolving Loan Fund will be utilized by the owners of Bear Coffee House and Wine Bar -- to be located in Gary's on the River at 24 W. Park St. -- and Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches -- coming to the corner of Grand Avenue and Fifth Street in a portion of the former Spencer Theatre.


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More double dipping by another retired city employee. Why in a town of 10,000 people would we need a police officer in the school??

-- Posted by CITIZEN SAM on Tue, Jul 17, 2012, at 2:20 PM

Columbine, CO has a population of 24,000 and we know what happened there in 1999. $18,000 is a small price to pay to have a certified officer on duty that could prevent or stop such a tragedy.

-- Posted by Dennis the Menace on Tue, Jul 17, 2012, at 10:57 PM

Go hang out in the halls or watch the drug dog get a sniff and you'll know why. We in Iowa have lived with our heads buried in the corn field for quite some time. Hopefully, he can make a difference.

-- Posted by Leah Cauthron on Wed, Jul 18, 2012, at 12:26 PM

I disagree placing a bureaucrat who the kids automatically dont respect (often with good reason-when I was in high school the "resource officer" was a pervert who always made comments about what girls were wearing and otherwise tried too hard to be liked) is going to improve anything. I like Wilson and think he's a good man but there is nothing he is going to actually help. Discipline used to be taken care of by principals and teachers who, unlike many poor, union protected teachers today, were actually competent and effective. "Drugs" is a poor excuse in my opinion because there have always been and always will be drugs regardless of legal status and placing an officer in the school hasn't made them harder for students to obtain or curbed the number of school aged kids who do drugs. Since schools teach the myth of benevolent government instead of the basics of commerce the black market for drugs is often the only education students get in market economics anyway. Anyone who hasn't been too far detached from the reality of schools and teenagers' real viewpoints and actions in the last decade especially would understand this and not suggest placing a cop and cameras brooding over students and turning the school into more of a prison than it already is as any remedy to some alleged problem.

-- Posted by jlees on Wed, Jul 18, 2012, at 4:56 PM

I agree with jlees. Kids are already taught to not respect their elders and for ppl in uniforms. Lets give some authority back to the teachers and principle and i bet some things will change around. Parents need to quit crying victim for their kids and start owning up to what the kid maybe up to. Drugs have always been in the schools, just more so now.

-- Posted by acerdj on Thu, Jul 19, 2012, at 5:40 AM

I know this is off topic, but please, acerdj, it's PEOPLE! People! Not ppl. Your constant use of that social-media inspired abbreviation has caused me to consistently skip over your posts because I just can't stand it any longer!

-- Posted by DHarris on Thu, Jul 19, 2012, at 7:51 AM

KCB: Columbine was 13 years ago, not 10. And what difference does time make? Given the right circumstances, it could happen again. Granted, prevention should start with the parents but we live in different time than when you or I were kids and there's not enough space here to debate the moral decay taking place in this country. And sorry, we can't "wish" the old days back.

DHarris: OMG! Your post has me LOL and ROFL!

-- Posted by Dennis the Menace on Thu, Jul 19, 2012, at 1:42 PM

Geez Dennis, do you think maybe we should all just live with armed Soldiers so the boogie man doesn't get us?

It's a matter of when, not if, a Columbine will happen again (Virginia Tech ring a bell?). There are far too many whack-jobs in the world, some medicated, some not. In the meantime, spending another Trillion on such issues isn't going to make a hill of beans to the eventual outcome.

There is a reason this country is 15 Trillion dollars in debt and climbing. It's largely because your fine elected officials and Liberal buddies spend money they don't have, to "fix" problems that don't exist. Throw in the bleeding heart mentality/perspective, which has been 100% proven none of those tactics work - this is what you get. Wasn't Freedom great while it lasted!

There are plenty of better options that would cost far less, and be far more effective, all of which would involve "offending" somebody. Someday we may even re-enter the realm of actually rendering a deserved punishment to those that are out of line, and a constant source of irritation to the general public. Easy fix with very little effort, unless you don't believe in History.

-- Posted by Dick Butkus on Thu, Jul 19, 2012, at 9:43 PM

Dennis the Menace: touché.

-- Posted by DHarris on Thu, Jul 19, 2012, at 11:20 PM

Geez Dick, I support law enforcement when necessary but I never said anything about sending in the Marines... Perhaps you didn't read my quote from above:

"prevention should start with the parents..." and "there's not enough space here to debate the moral decay taking place in this country."

Spencer has a pretty conservative base and I'm of the assumption that the elected school board members would be somewhat conservative and apparently they think a school paid officer on duty would curtail some unlawful activities. If they aren't acting in good faith for what's best for the students and for the voters that elected them, then they need to be replaced in the next election.

When I was in HS in the 70's, there were kids that hunted before or after school and Boy Scouts that were working on the marksmanship merit badge and they left their rifle or shotgun in their vehicle during school hours on school property. I think kids were taught morals and respect of human life and property back then. Yeah there were bullies and sometimes kids duked it out after school but no one ever thought about killing or maiming another student. Now days, if kids get caught with a finger nail clipper or pocket knife, they would likely be suspended and/or severely punished. The same goes if a student has an aspirin or bottle of suntan lotion...

Across the nation, schools have the kids for 6-8 hours a day and can teach them about sex and provide free condoms but they aren't allowed to teach them morals or manners...and religion is totally out of the question because someone might be offended.

So, what's your solution, Dick...? Go back to the days of corporal punishment? I would imagine the school district and whatever staff that laid a hand on a kid would be sued and could be charged with assault/battery.

Still think I'm a liberal?

-- Posted by Dennis the Menace on Fri, Jul 20, 2012, at 1:24 AM

Dharris....why aren't you saying something to Dennis the Menace. He just elaborated on what I said. Soooooooo

-- Posted by acerdj on Wed, Jul 25, 2012, at 6:07 AM


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