School resource officers are tasked with providing safety and education to students, serving as both guardian and liaison between law enforcement and students.

The North Callaway R-1 School District has signed a cooperative agreement with the Callaway County Sheriff’s Department to employ an SRO with the district. Deputy Zachery Carey will start serving at the schools in this capacity Jan. 2, 2019.

“As a community … it was recognized that it would be a benefit and improvement to the schools to have an SRO,” said North Callaway Superintendent Brian Garner. “We’re excited to have him as a presence in all of our buildings.”

Carey will assist not only with safety and security at the schools throughout the district, but he also will assist school staff with programming, such as a DARE program to start in the 2019-20 school year.

“Sometimes if there is a police, sheriff’s or highway patrol — and we already have had sheriff’s presence — but we wanted a longer standing and consistent presence here,” said Garner. “The person (selected) by the department is with us for our calendar year, but the rest of the time … is a full-fledged (deputy) with the department doing other things.”

Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism said Carey was a natural choice for the job.

“We initiated an internal application process within the sheriff’s office. … His personal and professional characteristics sold him very quickly as being the best candidate,” he said.

Carey is diligent and professional about his work, Chism said. Carey also is respected by his peers and the community, due to his personality. “He is approachable, friendly and can just relate well with others,” Chism said.

The North Callaway District is the third to enter into an agreement with the Callaway County Sheriff’s Department for an SRO. The other two districts are South Callaway R-II and New Bloomfield R-III.

“It is a formula-based program set by the Callaway County Commission. The school district pays for 65 percent of the deputy’s salary and benefits and the county pays 35 percent of the salary and benefits,” Chism said.

The county, though, pays for all training an SRO may require, equipment, uniforms, office accessories and more. “So in real life, it’s more or less a 50-50 split by the time you consider all the variables,” Chism said.

Carey will complete his DARE training later in 2019. The training is available only once a year through the state. He has completed the SRO certification training, Chism said.

“This is not just about having a security officer at the schools,” Chism said. “This SRO is going to assist the schools with various programs, functions, interventions and just being a great support for the school district as a whole. Having an SRO is not about having a badge and a gun standing at the front door.”