Robertsdale Council adopts plan for SRO reimbursement

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 2/13/19

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The Robertsdale City Council approved a memorandum of understanding with the Baldwin County Commission and Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office at its meeting Feb. 4 in order …

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Robertsdale Council adopts plan for SRO reimbursement

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ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The Robertsdale City Council approved a memorandum of understanding with the Baldwin County Commission and Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office at its meeting Feb. 4 in order receive partial reimbursement in exchange for providing school resource officers for the city’s three public schools.

In July of 2018, the council approved a plan that would provide school resource officers for all local schools by the start of the 2018-19 school year.

The city’s police department now provides officers at all three public institutions within the city’s limits. Veteran police officer Heath Brill was tapped to serve as school resource officer for all city schools beginning with the 2017 school year.

After the Baldwin County School system mandated that all public schools in Baldwin County be staffed with their own resource officers, Brill began the 2018 school year as the SRO at Robertsdale High School.

Officer Justin Murray took on the duties as SRO at Central Baldwin Middle School in August, while Officer Jake Powell began his duties as SRO at Robertsdale Elementary School on Feb. 4.

Before that officers with the Robertsdale Police Department filled the position on a rotating basis until a retirement in the city’s utilities department created a vacancy, said Mayor Charles Murphy.

Resource officers for the other two campuses, the South Baldwin Center for Technology and the Baldwin County Alternative School, which is housed in the C.F. Taylor building (the old Robertsdale School on Wilters Street), are being provided by the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.

“I think it has worked out very well so far, and that is a testament to our chief Brad Kendrick and his department leaders,” Murphy said.

The agreement was presented to the city council in September 2018 setting standards for the county’s school resource officers and a reimbursement of $50,000 for each officer, which helps pay for uniforms and other equipment needed by the SROs.

“This is not a 100 percent reimbursement,” Murphy said. “The city still incurs some of the cost but it is a prime example of how the city and county can work together to accomplish a goal.”

The Feb. 4 action was necessary for the city to receive reimbursement for the fourth quarter of 2018, Murphy said. The city received its first reimbursement at the end of 2018 for the third quarter, which ran from the beginning of the school year in August through September. The fourth quarter reimbursement would be from October through December of 2018.

The reimbursement also allowed the city to move officers from patrol to the SRO program and hire new patrol officers to replace them in the field, Murphy said.

In other business Feb. 4, the council:

•Approved the city’s annual financial audit report from Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore for fiscal year 2018.

•Approved a proposal from Engineering Services for repainting the Fairground Road water tank at a cost of $9,800.

•Purchased an ad in Gulf Coast Media’s upcoming Baldwin Business Annual Report at a cost of $250.

•Adopted Ordinance No. 002-19, allowing the city to adopt 2018 International Building Codes. Previously the city was using 2012 codes.