ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has funded $2.2 million to St. Charles County schools to hire more resource officers in the districts.

Fourteen school resources officers will be added to protect schools in St. Charles County and surrounding areas when classes begin.

“Just knowing that we’d have someone on-site if something were to happen, it’s reassuring,” said Fort Zumalt School District parent, Sean Martin.

Currently, nine St. Charles County schools have school resource officers. However, for the 2022-2023 school year, every school in unincorporated St. Charles County including Augusta Elementary School in the Washington School District, and schools in Dardenne Prairie and Weldon Spring will have a resource officer.

“It’s about the public’s safety. The safety of our kids and after the recent events, we’ve seen the last several months, I don’t know how you can argue against this,” said Kurt Frisz, St. Charles County Police Chief.

The money will also go towards staffing, training, and equipment at no cost to residents or the schools. The equipment includes guns, tasers, body cameras, first aid kits, etc.

Every officer is trained in multi-assault, counter-terrorism action capabilities. They have active school shooter drills to practice responding to in real life. Officers also teach students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Dr. Nathan Hoven, superintendent of Francis Howell School District, said “students’ safety is a priority.”

“They know our schools and our safety plans well. Our student’s safety is always our top priority,” said Hoven.

Ron Neupert, St. Charles County officer, said they have kept students safe for decades.

“It could be walking the halls, checking doors on the perimeter buildings, educating the fifth grade, reading to the kindergarteners,” said Neupert. “Being able to assist anyway you can imagine.”

He said connecting with the kids and building a trusted relationship is a big part of the job as well.

“You meet them and you take care of them,” said Neupert. “Whether that’s sitting in the cafeteria with them or riding the bus.”

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