Davenport City Council discusses renewal agreement for school resource officer, liaison

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 12:50 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - An agenda item involving a renewal agreement for a school resource officer was debated at Davenport’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday.

The renewal agreement is for a school resource officer and liaison at Davenport Community School District’s West High School. The SRO is a full-time position in the building.

The agenda item became an opportunity for members of city council and of the public to share and express their opinions on the role of police officers in schools.

“I hear so many people saying let’s get rid of the SROs, but we also need a good relationship with police in our community. What an ideal place to do it to teach our kids not to be afraid than in our schools,” one Davenport resident said to the city council.

“I think the number one priority moving forward should be to figure out what is turned over to police. They’re not parents, they’re not teachers. They shouldn’t be mediators or councilors at the school. They come in with a gun and badge and ability to enforce laws,” another person said.

Some city council members said more data needs to be pulled on incidents between students and school resource officers.

“I have a series of questions that i believe need to be answered before we are prepared to make a decision on what’s before us tonight and Wednesday,” Alderwoman Judith Lee of ward eight said.

Others said future discussion needs to continue, but the council should acknowledge the request of the school district.

“If the Davenport Community Schools makes the determination that it’s the best interest of their students, that is their charge. The health, safety, and education of Davenport school students. That’s their charge. Then we execute the service that they ask for. Now, do agree that setting expectations and outcomes is good,” Alderman At-Large Kyle Gripp said.

Next week the item will be on the agenda for discussion at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. There the council will vote. If passed, the new agreement at West High School is through 2022.

In the agreement with the city and Davenport Community School District, the district reimburses the city for costs associated with SROs.

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