Windsor wants a school resource office; town moves away from neighborhood parks among three things to know from Windsor’s work session | MyWindsorNow.com
James Redmond
jredmond@mywindsornow.com

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Windsor wants a school resource office; town moves away from neighborhood parks among three things to know from Windsor’s work session

Windsor's town board met for a work session Monday night.

Here are three things to know about the work session:

1. School resource officer

Starting this year, Windsor Police Department officials want to assign an officer to the schools full time with the implementation of a school resource officer program.

For the last several years the police department created a special day shift officer position whose responsibilities included working with the schools in addition to normal police duties around town. Throughout the last couple years, Windsor's growth and increasing calls for police service kept those officers busy and frequently away from schools, Police Chief Rick Klimek explained to the town board Monday night.

Windsor police have been great partners with the school district for years, said Superintendent Dan Seegmiller in a phone interview Tuesday morning. But as Windsor officers have gotten busier, the needs of the high school and school district have increased.

"It's just stretched that set of resources too thin," he said.

There's been a lot of interest in creating a dedicated school resource officer program over the years, but its cost presented a challenge, Klimek said. Eventually police and Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District officials started the process of creating — and funding — a school resource officer position.

The details aren't finalized yet, Klimek said, but the working plan has the school district paying for 30 percent of the officer's salary. An entry-level officer's salary is about $55,000, he said.

"It's going to be a great collaborative effort between the school district and the town, to provide a service that's not been in place in the past," Klimek said.

Starting this next school year a Windsor police officer will have an office and parking spot in Windsor High School. The school resource officer position will focus primarily on the middle and high school, but will be available to help out in other schools throughout Windsor. However, the officer won't be working with the Severance school, he said explaining those schools fall in the jurisdiction of the Weld County Sheriff's Office.

"Their primary function will be building a rapport with the kids, handling calls for service that are (at the schools) — because we're not going to stop having those calls— and to teach some classes in the realm of constitutional law and safety issues," Klimek said. "It's not going to solve every issues we have and the SRO isn't going to do away with criminal activity at the high school or from kids, but hopefully it's a good opportunity to reach out to (the kids)."

A dedicated officer in the school will support students and their families as much as it helps improve safety, Seegmiller said. A school resource officer program allows for a relationship to grow between students, staff and that officer.

"Because they're a dedicated officer to (the schools) they're in a much better position to understand how the school works, how our students are doing, what's going on in the building and out in the community that's affecting our students," he said. "They find that students are much more willing to come and talk with the police officer when there's a concern. There are a lot more preventative measures that can be addressed through an SRO."

2. Windsor parks system

Windsor officials indicated continued movement toward a parks system that, in the future, would eschew neighborhood parks in favor or larger community parks with more diverse components and attractions.

In November the town board started a discussion with Director of Parks, Recreation, and Culture Eric Lucas about how to prioritize growth and development in the town's park system. Windsor's current methodology emphasizes enough neighborhood parks to keep residents within a third of a mile or a 10-minute walk from a park.

Building and maintaining numerous small neighborhood parks costs a lot of money, Lucas said previously. Focusing on larger, more centrally located community parks cuts town on costs. Large community parks can also incorporate amenities such as sports fields, destination playgrounds and more.

"I like what I've heard and I like the ways you guys are planning ahead and looking at the growth of this town," said town board member Ivan Adams.

In Monday night's work session, Lucas started talking the town board through the process of eliminating the town's neighborhood park development fees and redesigning, and increasing, the community park development fees to move toward the community-park focused plan. He said he doesn't know what the redesign of the community park fee would look like and will need some time to work through that process.

"I wholeheartedly support moving in this direction," said Mayor Kristie Melendez. "I think for the long term to be fiscally responsible and to still appeal to our community … I think this is the only way we can go."

3. Sponsoring Windsor

Windsor officials posed some questions about the range of sponsorship opportunities for sale in the town's new corporate sponsorship packet, but in the end most supported the change.

The Parks, Recreation and Culture Department recently updated its sponsorship package and offerings, and included new options at the Community Recreation Center and Windsor's upcoming farmers market, among others, Lucas said.

Board member Christian Morgan said if the town needs the sponsorship revenue he understands its place, but otherwise he'd like to see sponsorship opportunities limited.

"I just think it starts to look kind of trashy if we have logos and phone numbers everywhere we turn," he said.

Lucas assured them the options listed in the package, which focused solely on parks, recreation and culture locations and events, were the only ones they considered.

"(Sponsorship) is not something we have to do," Lucas said. "I think it's a way to offset costs."

Additionally, he said he and his staff do pay attention to the content of the advertisements and where they might be displayed. And if a sponsorship offer comes from a questionable source, staff can ask the town board to make a decision about it.

"We've not had a problem with this to date and it's already been in place," Melendez said. "I think you guys have done a good job of finding thing that makes sense for sponsorship."