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City Commission approves school resource officer

The West Fargo Police Department will be hiring another officer and shifting one of their present employees to the role of School Resource Officer for the West Fargo School District.

West Fargo City Commissioners approved this action at their Monday night meeting after hearing a request from Police Chief Arland Rasmussen asking them to move forward on the matter.

With the opening of the new Ninth Grade Academy this fall, the West Fargo School District asked for an additional SRO beginning in January of 2008 to be at the school during the school year, providing policing type duties wherever needed as they pertain to students or issues.

Police Officer Jason Anderson currently serves in the SRO capacity at the West Fargo High School, Cheney Middle School and occasionally the West Fargo Community High School. School District officials felt another SRO officer would be needed at the Ninth Grade Academy.

The SRO would be hired from the current slate of West Fargo officers, creating the need for an additional police officer to be hired. The School District would cover three-fourths of the salary for the nine months they would be utilizing the SRO and the City would fund the remaining three months salary.

Rasmussen said he had checked with City Administrator Jim Brownlee, who said the money could be allocated from the retirement budget item. Rasmussen said since that discussion, a $16,000 grant had been received that can be used for an SRO's salary, which would mean only a minimal amount would have to come out of the retirement budget that would pay for the additional time the officer would be on staff. Quarterly expenditure for the position is approximately $15,000 for salary and benefits combined.

Since it takes time to train an officer for the SRO position and also to train in a new police officer that will need to be hired to fill this position, Rasmussen asked that Sept. 1 be the hire date for both the SRO and the new police officer, to allow ample time for training so the SRO can begin with the School District either Dec. 1 or Jan. 1.

Officers usually serve in the SRO position three to three and a half years, Rasmussen said, and then they go back to other patrol officer assignments.

Their downtime from the school's in the summer is used to help fill in for other patrol officers vacations at the West Fargo Police Department as well as taking their own vacation time.

In other action the Commission:

-authorized second reading on the rezoning of Goldenwood 3rd Addition to R-1A single family dwelling and R-1 one and two family dwellings.

-okayed a request from officials at Wanzek Construction Inc. for a building permit to be issued prior to the normal approval process to replat and rezone property on which their office facility is currently located. The growth of their staff is causing extremely crowded conditions and although they have hired a general contractor to complete the project, they have the opportunity to utilize some concrete finisher employees in the next week which would give them a head start on their construction.

Consequently, they wish to proceed and will do so at their own risk, knowing that all criteria must be satisfied on the City's behalf before a certificate of occupancy is issued.

-approved an on and off-sale retail liquor license for Spit Fire American Grill and Bar, formerly Uno's, at 1660 13th Ave. E. for one month so they can secure a state license to reopen. Their regular liquor license will come up for renewal July 1;

-okayed an on-off sale retail liquor license for JDR Productions, who will be opening a business at 1420 9th St. E. in the Pioneer Center;

-gave final plat approval for a replat of Charleswood 24th Addition;

-awarded the bid for Street Improvement District No. 2194 for the Public Works Facilty public parking lot to Border States Paving, Inc., Fargo, with a low bid of $95,157;

-awarded the bid for the 2007 Microsurfacing Project to ASTECH, Inc. St. Cloud, Minn., with a low bid of $166,495;

-awarded the bid for the 2007 Cracksealing Project to Roadway Services, Inc. of Fargo, with a low bid of $43,000.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, June 18, in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.