PNG High School could get permanent resource officer

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018

PORT NECHES — A permanent school resource officer at Port Neches-Groves High School may be in place by the beginning of the new school year.

Councilmembers in Port Neches will discuss the issue as well as sharing the funding responsibilities with the school district during the 4 p.m. meeting at City Hall on Thursday.

Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said the issue came up years ago but funding was an issue. This doesn’t mean there was no officer at the school. The duty has been rotated between four officers.
Lemoine said if the proposal is approved, an officer would be assigned for the special duty.

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“We want someone who wants to go over there and the decision would be shared with some input from the school district,” Lemoine said. “It will be an officer who has worked there before and one they (school district) may be more comfortable with over another for no particular reason.”

The officer will still be a Port Neches Police officer and during holidays and during summer when the officer is not training or on leave will work at the department on an “as-needed” basis. But mostly, he’ll be assigned to the school.

Funding for the SRO will be shared with the city paying 21 percent of the cost while Port Neches-Groves Independent School District will pay the remaining 79 percent.

Port Neches City Manager Andre Wimer said this is patterned after an agreement between the city of Nederland and the Nederland Independent School District and has been in place for years.

Lemoine said having a permanent SRO on campus is a positive for the school.

“They (officer) would develop a rapport with not only the staff but the students,” Lemoine said. “You don’t want to be there just for security guard purposes. They are supposed to teach, such as criminal justice and build trust with the students. There may be an opportunity they (student) may need to talk to somebody, one on one.”

The community will benefit as well by making the campus safer.

“Although it’s just one SRO it is one full-time person performing different roles and giving parents some peace of mind of that they are there and what they are there for.”

PNGISD trustees will also have to approve the issue before it is a done deal.