Let’s get on same SRO page
Our View Editorial
We were thrilled when we heard Baldwin City Police Cpl. Kim Springer had been chosen by the Douglas County Crime Stoppers as its first-ever winner of the Distinguished Service Award.
Springer is certainly worthy of the honor. Her tireless efforts as the School Resource Officer are well documented. One only has to think about the lack of headlines on the front page of the Signal over the last few years about trouble at Baldwin High School. Those used to be the norm instead of the exception.
But she may be best known for instituting the SRO Hotline in the Baldwin School District that gave students and parents an opportunity to call and leave a voice mail, anonymously or not, about possible criminal activities that are going on. The program was a huge success, garnering 40 calls on average a month and 500 between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., when students felt most safe to call.
The Crime Stoppers specifically lauded Springer for the hotline, which they called an extension of their own anonymous efforts, at the Baldwin City Council meeting Monday when they presented her the award. Again, we were thrilled.
But it was tarnished. Unfortunately at this point, Springer is the former SRO. The Baldwin School Board eliminated its half of the funding for the position recently because of budget cuts necessary to make up for reduced state funding.
We find that sad – and not a bit smart.
We understand the monetary constraints that caused the move. The district was facing a possible shortfall of $1 million. Budgets are tight everywhere. The city is tightening its belt, too. We all are. We all have to.
But do we cut insurance out of the budget to save money? Of course not. We can’t afford to do that. In essence, that’s one of the many facets that the SRO provides.
In this day and age, we can’t skimp on protecting our children. No, we never have thought the Baldwin School District was somewhere that the horrific tragedy of Columbine, where numerous students were gunned down by fellow students, could occur. But we didn’t think that could happen at an Amish school, either – but it did. The list of these types of tragedies has occurred is unfortunately long.
No, that can’t happen here. Or can it? Have we all forgotten about the student who made online threats against the Maple Leaf Festival several years ago, threatening the use of guns and pipe bombs? We hope not.
That didn’t happen, thanks in large part to a student alerting an SRO about the posting on a Web site. The situation was quickly defused. That’s how this works.
We were also encouraged Monday night to hear Mayor Ken Wagner pledge to examine budgets and see what could happen to restore the position. We hope that happens and we hope the school district will think again.
The SRO position here has unfortunately had a roller coaster history in regards to funding and who’s in charge.
The taxpayers are in charge and we need to demand that we have an SRO in place.