BOE paves way for city to apply for SRO grant
by Chris Norwood
TALLADEGA — The Board of Education voted 4-0 Thursday morning to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Talladega Police Department, which is applying for a grant that would pay 75 percent of the salary and benefits of two school resource officers. Board member James Braswell was absent.

The grant funding would cover three years, and the city would be required to keep the new officers on for an additional year after that.

The city would provide the officers with uniforms, equipment and vehicles, while the board would be responsible for covering the 25 percent match, about $11,000 per officer per year.

One of the officers would be assigned to Talladega High School and the other would float between Zora Ellis Junior High School and the elementary schools. The officer would work patrol for the city during the summer months when school is out.

Police Chief Alan Watson presented the proposal to the board during its regular meeting Monday night. The City Council called a meeting Tuesday to unanimously approve the memorandum of understanding, which was delivered to Superintendent Doug Campbell Wednesday morning.

Watson said the grant application had to be submitted no later than May 22, so time was of the essence.

The funding would come through the Community Oriented Policing Services program.

Campbell recommended approval of the agreement, and the motion was made by board member Shirley Simmons-Sims, with a second from board member Bonnie Miller. Board chairwoman Elizabeth Smith and board member Juanita Curry McClellan also voted in the affirmative.

Although the grant application process is competitive, Watson said he felt confident the city’s application would be funded, based on demographics, crime statistics and the fact that Talladega city is the only system in the county that does not currently have any resource officers.

During the same meeting, the board also voted 4-0 to surplus old reading textbooks, as recommended by Campbell.

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