FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The city of Fayetteville is moving forward with applying for a grant to help pay for more school resource officers.
The Fayetteville City Council voted to approve a resolution allowing the Fayetteville Police Department to apply for a 2023 police hiring program matching grant.
It will provide $250,000 to fund two new SROs for the next four years. Police chief Mike Reynolds says he’s confident in his officers’ abilities to be a positive and protective presence in schools.
“I’m certainly proud of my school resource officers. I’m confident in their ability to safeguard the students, the faculty, and the parents of the Fayetteville Public School System,” Reynolds said.
City Council member Sarah Moore was the only one to vote against it. She wants to see more solutions being considered besides just more officers.
“Applying for grants that go outside of law enforcement that look at, you know, mental health, social workers, additional counselors, behavior interventionist,” Moore said.
In August, the city council unanimously approved a resolution that added a seventh SRO for this school year.
The Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition released a statement saying “SROs do not create greater safety in regard to gun violence and can have detrimental everyday effects on the overall well-being of a student population.”
However, Reynolds says he knows SROs won’t solve everything but within the four years of him being chief, he’s seen the difference it makes in schools.
“This young lady has anxiety about school shootings and her father relayed to me that if it wasn’t for the compassion that my school resource officer shows to this young lady and that she can confide in him, she wouldn’t be able to attend school without that relationship,” Reynolds said.
The council also laid out the intent to approve two more SROs every year until every school in the Fayetteville district has its own officer.
Reynolds says with the help of the grant, he believes he can have both positions filled by the 2024-25 school year, bringing the total number of SROs to 11.