Fairbury Public Schools, Jefferson County sign off on School Resource Officer plan

FAIRBURY, NE — A southeast Nebraska school district will be getting a school resource officer as soon as possible.

Jefferson County Sheriff Nick Georgi and Fairbury Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Grizzle signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday morning, finalizing a deal that had been talked about for months. The Sheriff’s Office will offer a deputy as a school resource officer for 10 months out of the year and the school district will pay the sheriff’s office $3,170 per active month.

When interviewed last month, Grizzle said the safety benefits will be worth the cost.

“Whether it’s just the presence or whether it’s helping us identify different procedures or strategies that we might employ during the school day that might help us,” Georgi said.

County Commissioner Mark Schoenrock says he’s hopeful the SRO can establish positive relationships with students.

“This is going to, I think, paint an entirely different picture for some of these young men and young women that their relationship with law enforcement is not necessarily adversarial," Schoenrock said. "It can be a very good relationship.”

The Sheriff’s Office has provided an SRO two days a week for Tri County and Meridian schools in recent years. The county board and sheriff have repeatedly praised the program. In fact, Georgi singled it out as one of the best parts of the department after he was sworn in in May.

“I don’t want to see that change at all," Georgi said. "I think that’s a great thing that Nels (Sorensen) started and I plan to keep that going too.”

The Sheriff’s Office is advertising for the SRO position. Depending on the hire, the new deputy might need to go to academy training before starting in a full capacity.

Nate Van Annie will be the next SRO for Tri County/Meridian schools after the previous deputy left. He is expected to be done with academy training in December. In the meantime, the sheriff’s office will periodically send deputies to the schools for walk-throughs.