On March 3, 2020, Whitewater Chief of Police Aaron Raap and Deputy Chief Dan Meyer approached the Whitewater City Council to asked and received permission to apply for a federal grant that would provide them with the opportunity to hire an additional School Resource Officer.

As of right now, the Whitewater Police Department have only one School Resource Officer (SRO) who is responsible for handling law enforcement response, education and liaison for the 1,939 students within the 5 Whitewater schools. 

The biggest reason for the Whitewater law enforcement wanting to apply for the 2020 COPS Hiring Program Grant (CHP), is because school-related calls for service has increased by 58.3% from 2017 to 2019. Additionally, the total law enforcement cases created by those calls for service increased 46.3% in 2017 to 2019. 

The increase in calls for service and cases handled has forced the one SRO officer to switch from a proactive role to a reactive role. These calls have “subsequently limited our SRO’s ability to focus on proactive duties including education, youth engagement, training related to active threat assessment and response and development of school safety plans.” (Common Council Agenda 1). 

When asked by City Council President, Patrick Singer, what has caused the increase in calls, Deputy Meyer said that they, “don’t have a good answer other than a much greater need for services.” 

If the Whitewater Police Department was able to receive grant funding, the department will utilize the monetary support to fund a second SRO position within the department. One SRO would be assigned to the Whitewater High School, with the second SRO being assigned to duties related to the Whitewater Middle School and three elementary schools. By hiring the second SRO, each resource officer would be able to focus on the specific needs of the students and staff in the facility assigned to them. 

In terms of a financial impact, the grant, if received, “would provide up to 75% of funding of the approved entry-level salaries and fringe benefits of each newly hired and/or rehired full-time sworn career law enforcement officer over the three-year awayrd period with a minimum of 25% local cash match requirement and a maximum federal share of $125,000 per officer position.” (City Council Agenda 2). This means that that first three years of salary, based on a salary of $100,000, would be covered by the grant with the last year having to be paid for by Whitewater. 

However, the CHP grant does stipulate that all award recipients must retain any CHP-funded officer must retain officer positions for at least 12 months immediately after the 36 months of federal funding has ended for each position. 

Aside from safety increase, one of the major benefits of having a second SRO officer is that it would allow for the fostering and developing of positive relationships with the students. Chief Rapp said, “If the only time they get to talk to the SRO is when they are in trouble, they will develop a negative association with police, which is not what we want.” With only one SRO officer, there is very little time for proactive types of interactions. To have the addition of a second SRO, they would be able to “drastically improve the ability to have the positive contacts wanted.” (Whitewater PD School Resource Officer (SRO) Program Overview 1). 

Once the officers were done stating their case in front of the Whitewater Common Council, Common Council President Patrick Singer said, “If there was ever a time to apply for a grant, it’s now.” The vote followed immediately after, with a unanimous decision in favor of applying for the grant.


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