Statement from Sheriff Spurlock reference SRO contract with STEM School:
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has historically enjoyed a positive and productive working relationship with the staff, teachers, students and parents of the STEM School. We continually strive to provide the best possible law enforcement services to our school community.
The Sheriff’s Office entered into a three-way Public Contract for Services agreement with two separate charter schools on 12/27/17, for the 2017/2018 school year. The two schools; STEM School and Skyview Academy, both in Highlands Ranch and located about 15 minutes apart from one another, agreed to share one School Resource Officer deputy, who would split his daily duties between the two schools. Essentially, each school wanted the services of the SRO ½ time each day. The SRO was funded ½ by the Sheriff’s Office, ¼ by STEM School, and ¼ by Skyview Academy.
Per this PCS agreement, the single deputy had several duties, to include:
- Provide education and counselling to faculty, staff, and students on law enforcement matters;
- Coordinate matters of mutual law enforcement concerns between the schools and the Sheriff;
- Investigate law enforcement and public safety issues, to include in-progress calls, serve as a first-responder as needed, investigate and follow up on criminal cases related to the schools and students, assist school administration regarding safety and security, assist with classroom presentations and mediation issues, work with parents regarding student problems, gather criminal intelligence involving juveniles and criminal activity.
- The schools were also required to provide a secure office for the SRO with a telephone computer, since the duties of the SRO require them to conduct confidential investigations and protect student privacy.
In April 2018, the SRO became ill and was placed on modified duty. Every effort was made to have other SROs, deputies and supervisors cover his duties, until the close of the school year in May, see memo from Lt. Bronner, Youth Programs/SRO commander.
In a letter dated 05/14/18, the STEM School requests Sheriff Spurlock to reimburse part of the funds they put forth towards the SRO, for the months he was out sick, see attached. The school also voiced concerns about their service expectations not being met. The Sheriff addressed the concerns of the school by reiterating what the contract for services required the SRO to do and what was required to be provided by the school for him to perform his duties. The Sheriff felt that STEM School may not have been utilizing the SRO in alliance with the contract because their primary focus for the SRO every day was outside security and traffic control, not the above noted functions of a deputy sheriff, per the agreement.
After several follow-up discussions with STEM School administration regarding the differences in how they used the SRO, versus the authorized duties of a deputy sheriff, the Sheriff’s Office did not feel the STEM School could follow the requirements of the agreement. As a result, Sheriff Spurlock sent a letter to STEM School dated 06/20/18, electing to not renew their ½ time SRO agreement for the 2018/2019 school year, see attached letter.
In a letter to the Sheriff’s Office dated 07/23/18, the STEM School asked to further discuss an SRO for the 2018/2019 school year and to work out an agreement, see attached letter. As a result, the Sheriff’s Office again met with the STEM School administrators to work on the details. The Sheriff’s Office presented options as well as requirements to provide for a full time SRO at the STEM school to include less expensive alternatives to paying ½ of the funding of an SRO, such as off-duty deputies to conduct the duties they were most interested in, traffic direction during the morning and afternoon. STEM school administrators were to take the issue back to their board of directors. The Sheriff’s Office did not hear back from the STEM school except to hire off-duty deputies as traffic control. The Sheriff’s Office also offered to provide our School Youth Education and Safety in Schools program, however this past year, those officers were not able to obtain the time in the STEM school due to no response from the school.
The following links to the documents listed in the above statement: