Hoping for growth in Stark County SRO program

STARK COUNTY, N.D. - Just like teachers, school resource officers are gearing up for the new school year that begins next week.

In Stark County, there's a new SRO, and she's excited to step into her role.

SRO Megan Wenisch is excited to get started.

She says the sheriff's office already has an SRO, but she will be in the police academy for the first portion of the school year.

Wenisch is filling in for now but the hopes is budget pending that she'll be the second school resource officer for the department.

Doors opening for new opportunities at the Stark County Sheriff's Office.

"We've really picked up our presence at schools," said Corey Lee, Stark County sheriff.

Lee says being present during the school year at rural schools is important.

"We require our staff to be in the school zones before and after schools as much as we can in each location. And then make appearances during the day," said Lee.

Wenisch is taking over for the first half of the year as the current SRO goes to the academy.

"I'm really looking forward to working at the schools and getting to know the students and I'm really excited," said Wenisch.

The hopes is that she will become the second SRO for the department.

But county funding wasn't enough to add the position in the 2020 budget.

"We're gonna look at some cop grants, and things like that. So hopefully 2021 we can have two SROs. 2020 we're gonna have to maintain our 1 SRO and keep our presence," said Lee.

Lee hopes the school resource officer program will continue to grow.

Wenisch says resource officers are important to build relationships and trust with the students.