Public resource officers to be let go after Brooke BOE goes in-house with levy staffing

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BROOKE COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) — A battle between the Brooke County Commissioners and the Board of Education is coming to an end but voters says this isn’t what they said ‘yes’ to on a levy.  

It all comes down to WHO is funding five new public resources officers? Commissioners say they’ve kept their end of the deal through providing officers with the sheriff’s department, but the BOE says they’ve chosen a different route. 

When the pandemic hit, the Board of Ed says they asked commissioners three times to change the stipulations, making the hired PROs part time.  

The cost for the five Sheriff’s deputies would have been $450,000 but now they will most likely be let go, as the Board of Education has decided to move in-house with hiring officers… And as the PROs were hired solely in the first place under the stipulations of the levy.

We’re still going to use the funds allotted in the levy to have safety resource officers in our schools. Those resource officers will just not be provided by the sheriff’s office.

Stephanie Duffy-Zimmer, Ph.D, Director of Communication, Brooke County Schools

As a voter in this county, I am disappointed.

Brian Knight, Volunteer Chaplin for the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department, Pastor of the Wellsburg Church of the Nazarene  

Since school was online, and near 50 teachers laid off, the BOE did not want to pay in full for the services that weren’t needed. 

But some voters say, just because you didn’t predict a pandemic doesn’t mean you get to change the rulebook. 

There is an incredible amount of resources going into educating our kids in this county and when we’re promised things like resource officers and teacher’s stipends and those things don’t happen, that creates a huge WHY?

Brian Knight, Volunteer Chaplin for the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department, Pastor of the Wellsburg Church of the Nazarene  

Initially we asked, can we not pay you for the services not rendered. 

Stephanie Duffy-Zimmer, Ph.D, Director of Communication, Brooke County Schools

Five officers were hired on, trained, solely because of the levy. 

Now that the schools have shifted in position, those deputies are going to be let go.

Brian Knight, Volunteer Chaplin for the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department

So, if the officers are hired on the BOE’s way, these PROs won’t have the authority to write tickets, sniff out drugs with K-9’s or currently even be allowed to conceal carry. To which the BOE clarifies that the levy passed says safety resource officers must be in place, but there are numerous ways to obtain them… And others say — ‘We already paid for them.’ 

All of the money that goes into certifying a police officer was paid for by the county and now these individuals are going to go to another department and already be certified and ready to go and then that department will get to benefit from what our county has already paid for. 

Brian Knight, Volunteer Chaplin for the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department

We are staying in line with what the levy funds were intended to be used for.

Stephanie Duffy-Zimmer, Ph.D, Director of Communication, Brooke County Schools

Both sides of this coin say that safety of the students is at the forefront of the levy. 

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