Council rejects school resource officer grant

JOYCE F. NOWELL

A recent effort to put a school resource officer in the Greencastle-Antrim district was laid to rest Monday night.

The Greencastle Borough Council voted 6-0 to turn down, with thanks and regrets, a state diminishing grant for the officer. Councilman Craig Myers was not at the meeting.

“We feel it’s out of our hands,” said Council President Charles Eckstine. “We’ve been working for four years to try to get this.

“We expected to share this project with the (Antrim) township and (Greencastle-Antrim) school district. We’ve been unable to make that happen. We don’t feel it’s fair to saddle the borough residents with the full cost.”

The recommendation to turn down the grant came from the borough’s Public Safety Committee.

“It’s too big of a financial burden for the borough,” said Councilman Paul Schemel, head of the committee. “Unfortunately we’re not getting financial contributions from the other interests.

“With regret we can’t recommend to go forward.”

Borough resident Felicia Hollingshead had addressed the council earlier in the meeting, asking them to reconsider accepting the grant. Hollingshead noted recent incidents of violence in the high school in supporting the SRO proposal.

“While being aware of costs should be a must in government, the cost of being proactive and head off problems is much less than waiting to attempt to fix them under duress later,” Hollingshead told the council.

“Making a move to do the right thing is never easy, but someone must step up to the responsibility.”

 Police Chief John Phillippy had secured the grant and the state had been waiting for the past two weeks for an answer as to whether the borough would be accepting it.

Antrim Township officials earlier said the township could not legally fund a position that would be a borough employee. The Greencastle-Antrim School Board eventually opted out of the proposal on financial grounds.

“I’d love to say let’s fund it,” said Councilman Mark Singer. “Over time maybe we can look at it again.”

Councilman Harry Foley added, “We really wish we could dig up the money without raising taxes.”

Councilman Duane Kinzer thanked Phillippy and the committee for their efforts in attempting to get the SRO.

Other visitors

A Leitersburg Street resident asked the council to consider an ordinance making it unlawful to leave a pet out in inclement weather.

Blaine Beam of Jeffrey Drive presented a petition to the council asking that the 2009 decision to pave over the traffic triangle at Baumgardner and Jeffrey drives be reconsidered. Beam asked that a safety expert be brought in to analyze the situation.