The Bright Side
Spyro Condos, former mayor, council member, and now a member of the police and fire commission, is quite the vibrant expressive when it comes to security.
He is crusading to assure that every school in the Geneva Lake area has a full-time police officer on campus during school hours. Those officers are sometimes referred to as resource officers. BigFoot High School has one, as does the high school in Elkhorn, most others have ‘shared’ part-time officers.
Here is a little bit about what are called resource officers: A School Resource Officer is an officer first, then an SRO who supports and facilitates the educational process of a Public School System by maintaining a safe and secure environment. SRO’s build relationships, establish and proactively interact with students, staff, and parents. SRO’s enforce city and state laws, detect and investigate crimes. A resource officer works effectively with students, parents, school personnel and community agencies to support teaching and learning in the schools. The School Resource Officer will patrol district property to protect students, staff, and visitors from physical harm and criminal activity. SRO’s are chosen on the basis of (but not limited to) their sound judgment, and a strong ability to work with youth and adults in the school setting, effectively communicate with both the public and school personnel, apply critical thinking skills in rendering solutions to various issues in the schools, and are responsible for managing behavior of victims, witnesses, and others when handling or responding to an on-property in school incidence.
SRO’s duties are essential and extensive and include the ability to teach mini-courses to youth, provide in-service training to help administrators be better prepared to deal with security-related matters, work closely with the principal and school staff for a better understanding of law enforcement functions to maintain a secure learning environment. Resource Officers serve as a visible and active law enforcement presence in related areas such as drugs, trespassing, fighting, truancy, thefts and work to identify and prevent delinquent behavior, including substance abuse. Resource officers are police officers working in the schools and performing other duties as assigned by appropriate police supervisory personnel and school administrators. They can make arrests when necessary to protect students, staff, school property, and the community.
The SRO is not beholden to the school district boss/supervisor, but does work closely and give consideration to any thoughts and concerns the superintendent, staff, and school district board may have. Several of Walworth County schools and all Lake Geneva Schools already have an SRO who’s duties may or may not include overseeing the elementary, junior high and high schools in their district. A school resource officer does not get paid in addition to their job as a police officer, but the schools (depending on their agreement with the police department) will pay about sixty percent of the officer’s salary, while the city or police department picks up the remaining forty percent of the officer’s salary. So, in general, there is no added cost to taxpayers to have a resource officer in the schools, only an increase in school security.
Ed Stivak, former director of the Visit Lake Geneva operation (once known as the Lake Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce).
This man, who was seen as a wonderful gift to Lake Geneva when he was hired to be the director, was recently escorted and frog-marched out of his office by two hired security escorts. When Ed announced his resignation, he provided Visit Lake Geneva with plenty of time to find a replacement. Then, however, Ed gave interviews to the media about the tremendous political problems he faced in trying to bring the different economic forces running the old chamber together to accomplish anything. He couldn’t do it and the attempt drove him from office. The board over there got even. The made sure he was kicked out onto the street with the proverbial cardboard box, well before the time he gave for leaving. Tacky. That is about the only word that can be assigned to that kind of response from a board that’s supposed to be made up of some of Geneva Lake’s most successful, wise and urbane business people. Not.