The police chief says the grant couldn't have come at a better time.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
McDONALD -- For the first time, McDonald schools will have a police officer patrolling its buildings.
U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, D-Ohio, has announced the police department will receive a $125,000 grant from the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
The grant goes toward the salary and benefits of each new officer over three years.
The officers, known as school resource officers, are sworn officers assigned permanently to a school and school district.
Police Chief Lou Ronghi said the village has applied for a COPS grant several times, but never got one.
"This is a great thing for us. It couldn't have come at a better time," the chief said, noting the high school has been renovated and the new elementary school will be completed in April 2003. It's located near the high school.
Plans call for the police department to hire one officer.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said Tuesday that an award packet will be sent to the village in a week. Once signed and returned, the village can begin receiving the funds.
Despite McDonald being a small community, Ronghi explained, someone could walk into a school building to cause problems, and sometimes students get into trouble.
In addition to serving as law enforcement officers, many resource officers teach classes and counsel students about crime prevention or substance abuse.
It's the goal of the program to built respect and understanding between students and law enforcement.