Published Aug. 14, 2014
By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal
The Belton City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that would allow the Belton Police Department to create an additional sergeant position within the force. This sergeant will be placed in charge of the School Resource Officers (SRO), who work in conjunction with BISD to provide safety in schools.
“A sergeant position in our ranks would allow us to go up to six sergeants,” Police Chief Gene Ellis said at the council meeting. “The funding for this would be paid 10/12 by BISD and the other 2/12 by us. We planned that into our upcoming budget.”
The ordinance will also indirectly allow BPD to assign an additional SRO to BISD to accommodate for the addition of the ninth grade center, bringing the total to four.
“We’ve been working with BISD in identifying the appropriate time to add an additional School Resource Officer, and with the alignment of the high school complex and the new ninth grade center, we felt that it was the appropriate time,” Ellis said. “BISD has requested that fourth School Resource Officer; however, we are unable to actually staff that until January due to our current staffing needs.”
Although a fourth SRO cannot be provided until January, Ellis plans to assign a sergeant to that division immediately.
“A couple of years ago, I talked to Dr. Kincannon about if we ever did add an additional one, that I felt it was important that we provide adequate supervision for our officers and requested that by adding that additional one (SRO) that at least one of those four was in a supervising position, a sergeant in our office. And they agreed,” Ellis said. “We feel it’s important to get the supervisor on board at the beginning of the school year so we can do the proper planning, address needs, being part of all parts of the new campuses.”
Ellis also presented his promotion plans to the council Tuesday, naming Detective Robert Prestin as the department’s newest Sergeant.
“We have a very talented detective in Robert Prestin, who’s next on the sergeant promotional list,” Ellis said. “Many times when we’ve dealt with some major investigations, he’s been instrumental in those, so we’ll lose a wealth of knowledge in our Criminal Investigation Division by him promoting to Sergeant and going to patrol.”
Ellis also announced that Sergeant Doug Taylor will be put in charge of the Student Resource Officers.
“Doug’s passion is a school resource officer. He was an SRO for a number of years,” Ellis said. “He actually stepped down as a sergeant to become a School Resource Officer and then after a few years was repromoted. I know he’s excited to go back to the school, and the school is very excited to have him back. Doug would go fairly quickly because they’re already starting their training and meetings.”
For more information, please contact the Belton Police Department at (254) 933-5840.